The Boy Who Lost His Spark
When city boy Jem moves to the countryside with his mother and sister, his sadness and anger about the move overwhelm him. Trying his best to hide his feelings, most go unnoticed by anyone except an ancient creature living deep in the hillside, a “nouka”, a mischief-maker from local folklore whose purpose is to distract from unhappiness. The nouka may string yarn in a maze along the staircase, or make the cat behave badly, or hide school bags, doing any number of naughty acts designed to spark curiosity and bring back a sense of wonder.
Jem’s little sister believes wholeheartedly in the local tales about the nouka and is determined to find one, while Jem is stubbornly resistant to believing, even as strange, mysterious things happen around him. Slowly, the magic of the land is worked on Jem, giving him a sense of belonging, culminating in a wondrous encounter with the creature amidst the gorse and wildflowers of the hill.
Beautifully atmospheric, the land has a personality of its own, drawn exquisitely in the illustrations. Both the characters and the countryside are drawn with a moodiness that follows the arc of Jem’s emotional journey. This gorgeous book is meant for children ages 5+ but the long form picture book format makes this the perfect gift and perfect for sharing aloud, both in the classroom and at home.