Author: Lowie James
ISBN: 9781903491980
Publisher: Nightingale Books

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A fun and engaging adventure for children.  Eleven year-old Arnold Valentine is an ordinary boy growing up in a small, ordinary neighbourhood.  Unusual things begin to happen, and Arnold feels as though there is ‘magic’ in the air.  He is not the only one who senses this, but for a time he feels isolated as if something strange is happening to him. He seems to be developing great powers, and almost gets carried away with this, thinking that he could be turning into a super-hero. 

The bizarre events seem to begin to happen around the time that a white van appears in Arnold’s street.  No one knows who the van belongs to, and Arnold’s street is the type of street where everyone knows everyone.Arnold becomes obsessed with the white van and the man who owns the van.  He strikes up a conversation with the man, who tells him, among other things, that miracles are possible.
Arnold’s curiosity about the man in the van continues to grow, and the feeling of magic in the air remains as strong as ever.
Arnold wonders whether he is the only one who has noticed that odd things are happening.  At first, when he talks to his friends about it, he feels almost foolish, but there is still a nagging feeling inside him that all of the out-of-the-ordinary events are being caused by the stranger in the white van.  Soon he notices that surprising things are happening to his friends and family as well as to him.  I’m sure children will have fun trying to guess what is causing all of the changes in Arnold and the world around him, and trying to figure out how they could possibly be connected with the arrival of the mysterious man in the white van.

I enjoyed the story, and it is very well written.  It kept my interest, and contains a lot of suspense and dramatic scenes.  
All of the characters are believable and well-rounded.
I particularly liked the portrayal of the relationship between Arnold and his friends at school, which children will be able to relate to.
It’s a quick read that I’m sure would delight a child of reading age.  The story is uplifting and imaginative.  The reason behind the strange goings-on in Arnold’s life, is quite unexpected and there is a nice bit of background story tying it all together.
An unusual and quite original tale, which is an excellent debut novel from a promising writer.


Click Here To Purchase An Ordinary Boy