by Philippa Pearce
Candlewick, 2009. 120 pgs. Juvenile Fiction.
A passing reference to Batman and Spider-man sets this book in the present, but it entirely has the feel of an old-fashioned story of a boy and his dog with a bit of magic to bring them back together. Written by Pearce for her grandsons, Nat and Will, the story was barely finished before Pearce died and the manuscript went to the boys' other grandmother, Helen Craig, to be illustrated. Tillawn (you will see the anagram) has lost his little dog Bess and despairs both waking and sleeping. But in his dreams a man appears at his garden gate and when he goes out the next morning, there is the man, waiting to help him. The old gentleman is a Finder and soon he and Till are on Bess's trail, out to the meadow where Miss Gammer and Miss Mousy live. With the help of these friends (one a writer, one an artist), and Finder's use of Bess's toy Mudman to talk to the heron, the mole, and the witch's cat, the little dog comes back to Till. Written in the spare but elegant prose of the olden days, A Finder's Magic is a gentle, deeply satisfying tale, perfect reading for a young family at bedtime.