THE HUNT FOR THE NIGHTINGALE  by Sarah Ann Juckes is a truly delightful tale of a young boy’s search for his missing sister, their shared love of birds and the song  of a particular nightingale.  Jasper wonders why his sister Rosie has not returned home from university and gone with him to the tree in the field next to their house so that they can listen to the nightingale together as they always did in the holidays.  As the nightingale has not returned either Jasper, who suffers anxiety attacks, is really worried.  Then he learns that the nightingale has been heard at a motorway station some distance away and coupled with something Rosie had said the last time he saw her he realises that that is where he will find them both.  Gathering his backpack and his courage he sets off as far as he can go with the bus until his money runs out and then begins to walk.   As he does so

he meets a variety of people and animals and despite being nervous and shy makes a new friends.  Thus during the course of the book you not only get to learn a lot about birds but you also meet an interesting set of characters.  Of course we find out early on that Rosie has gone to A Better Place and that Jasper probably realises what that means but doesn’t want to admit it to himself so the book is not only a gentle adventure – will Jasper be safe all on his own out in the wide world – but also deals poignantly with the difficult subject of grief – what will happen when Jasper comes face to face with the truth.  The Bookseller said it was a ‘beautifully realised story, tender and hopeful’.  I defy anyone reading it to fail to be touched. 


Leave a comment!