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The Adventures of Aubrey: Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot
Horatio Clare
ISBN: 9781910080283 (1910080284)Publication Date September 2015
Publisher: Firefly Press Ltd, Cardiff
Illustrated by Jane MatthewsSuitable for age 9-11 or Key Stage 2 Format: Paperback, 188x129 mm, 208 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £7.99 
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Aubrey's father, Jim, has fallen under an horrendous spell, which Aubrey is determined to break. Everyone says his task is impossible, but Aubrey will never give up and never surrender - even if he must fight the unkillable Spirit of Despair itself: the TERRIBLE YOOT!

Mae Jim, tad Aubrey, dan swyn ofnadwy, ac mae Aubrey yn benderfynol o dorri'r hud. Dywed pawb fod y dasg yn amhosibl, ond nid yw Aubrey yn barod i ildio byth, er y gallai orfod ymladd yn erbyn y TERRIBLE YOOT, yr Ysbryd Anobaith na ellir ei ladd!
This splendid piece of philosophical fantasy will appeal to a wide range of children, particularly those of a thoughtful nature. Depression in parents is something that can cause great trauma in the families involved, and Aubrey’s family is no exception. His wonderfully happy and jovial father has suddenly descended nto a place where Aubrey and his mother cannot follow. Because they love him dearly, they try all the usual things – sleep, good food, exercise, and some sort of practical work. But Jim seems too tired and too lost to be able to help himself.

Now Aubrey is an unusual lad. He’s a bit of a terror, the sort who skis down the stairs, floods the bathroom, and plays tricks on his parents. But when he is asleep, he often visits the nearby Rushing Wood in his dreams; one night an owl appears on his window sill, and he and Aubrey have a conversation in their minds. It is apparent that the owl (Augustus) knows all about his dad’s problems and that this is no dream. From then on Aubrey depends on the woodland creatures to help him out in his quest for the ‘Terrible Yoot' who is making his dad so miserable. The various adventures with the animals are both humorous and fantastical, and in small ways they do help Jim. Aubrey realises, though, that their efforts will not be enough, and he must confront the Yoot himself.

This remarkable novel is full of lyrical writing and sensible thinking, and when we are inside Jim’s head, as we are from time to time, we see clearly just how terrible depression can be. Nevertheless, Aubrey’s positive attitude and his innate trust in the animals’ activities and their philosophical ruminations make for an optimistic outcome. While the story is a fantasy, it is the people involved who enact the decisions and for whom the outcome is good.

I enjoyed this novel tremendously and found the author’s delicious use of words inspiring. The charcoal black and white illustrations also add greatly to the mysterious and dream-like quality. It would make a lovely gift for a fantasy-loving child.

Elizabeth Schlenther

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.

Author Biography:
Horatio Clare’s first book, Running for the Hills, an acclaimed account of a Welsh childhood, won a Somerset Maugham Award, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and saw Horatio shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His subsequent books include Truant, A Single Swallow (shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year), The Prince’s Pen and most recently the best-selling travelogue, Down to the Sea in Ships. His essays and reviews appear regularly in the national press and on BBC radio. Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot! is his first book for children.
Further Information:
Aubrey’s is a rambunctious child who tries to run before he can walk and crashes two cars before he is old enough to drive one. But then his father, Jim, falls under an horrendous spell, which Aubrey is determined to break. Everyone says his task is impossible, but Aubrey will never give up and never surrender – even if he must fight the unkillable Spirit of Despair itself: the TERRIBLE YOOT! With the help of his mythical and animal friends Aubrey takes on a battle he is determined to win.
Winner of the Branford Boase first children's novel Award 2016
Winner: FCBG North Somerset Teachers' Book Awards, quality fiction category 2016
Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017
Longlisted for the UKLA Children's Book Awards 2017
Shortlisted for the Awesome Book Awards and the Surrey Libraries Children's Book Award 2017
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