I know, I know, this book has been out for ages. And it is hard to believe that it took me so long to find the 2 hours it took to read it. But you see, I hadn’t read Then when this came out, so I had to find time to read both of them and Then was so sad that I needed a happier book and then…. Well, you know. Anyway Now was well and truly worth the wait.
Now continues the story of Felix and Zelda, but this time Zelda is his little granddaughter. The reader discovers that Felix survived the war and dedicated his life to helping others. When little Zelda goes to stay with her granddad for a few weeks, she discovers a great deal about his life and his courage.
Written at the time of the Black Saturday bushfires Gleitzman uses our memories of that event to create another short, but riveting story of survival against the odds, personal responsibility and hope. Little Zelda accidentally starts a fire and then watches in horror as her community burns hours later. Felix is now too old for surgery, but he still uses his experience and knowledge to help a neighbour survive. Gletzman even asks the reader to imagine the horror of the hundreds of pets caught up in the fires on the day.
Perhaps because of this confrontational content, some reviewers have suggest that this book is written for a target audience of 14+. I disagree. As always Gleitzman tells a story that is truly accessible to all ages, including the very young. Yes there is danger, yes there is sadness, but is it really a bad thing for children to encounter these emotions in the ‘safe’ context of a children’s book. I am not one of these adults who insists that children need to be wrapped in cotton wool.
This, and the others in the series, truly deserves to become a children’s classic.