February 10

The Four Seasons of Lucy McKenzie by Kirsty Murray

resized_9781743317020_224_297_FitSquareKirsty Murray is a children’s author of great talent. She can manage the gently whimsy of Walking Home with Marie Claire, the epic history of the Children of the Wind series and dystopian horror in Vulture’s Gate all without losing touch with her ‘tween’ readers. I will admit that it has been a few years since I had the excuse to read one of her books, but I am so glad this one arrived.

To quote the publicity material,  ‘Lucy can walk through walls’. Not just any walls, but the four walls of her grandmother’s house each painted with a mural showing a different Australian season. Each wall takes her back in time, to the same farm and the same three children. Lucy becomes firm friends with the kids and looks forward to catching up in each changing season. Together they swim, ride horses and generally enjoy life on a farm about 50 or so years ago. Naturally, life isn’t all fun and games. Lucy also survives fire, flood and bullies. But how do these children relate to her life today? Something seems familiar, but she can’t quite put her finger on it.

Gradually the clues to this mystery are lightly salted through the story. An adult reader may put the clues together earlier, but a younger reader will surely enjoy the reveal, and then will be likely to flip back through the story checking out the important bits. Re-reading is rarely part of kids routine now, so anything that encourages this skill gets my tick of approval.

This is a delightful gentle story that keeps magic alive in children’s imaginations.