Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is a story of a quest with a difference. Aubrey’s fun-loving father, Jim, has fallen under a horrendous spell. Listless and moping, he can barely leave the house and seems to sink further and further under the spell of a mysterious force that Aubrey soon identifies as the Terrible Yoot. How can a young boy possibly hope to defeat the seemingly undefeatable – despair itself?
In his first foray into children’s writing, award-winning Welsh author Horatio Clare has not picked an easy topic: depression. Yet his sensitive handling of the topic as a desperate Aubrey tries to understand what is happening to his father and what he could do to help, never forgets that he is telling the story of a boy and his love for his father. With the help of a host of characterful creatures, Aubrey sets out to find a cure for his father, making sure he gets exercise, eats healthy fish and feels more like himself.
I love that Clare never forgets his young readers and makes sure there is excitement, adventure, mystery and enough laugh-inducing moments to ward off the dismal spell of the Terrible Yoot.
This skillful and fantastic handling of a tricky theme benefits from adroit illustrations by Jane Matthews that add another dimension in bringing this determined and adventurous tale to life.
I would highly recommend this book for all 9–12 year olds.