‘Harklights’, by Tim Tilley, is about an orphan named Wick and all of his
adventures. At the start of the book, Wick longs to escape from his horrible
orphanage, which is also a match factory in which he’s forced to work long
hours and eat only porridge. When Wick finds a tiny baby in an acorn cradle,
his whole world turns upside-down as he discovers the magical world of the
Hobs. Wick has to try to intertwine his old life at the orphanage with his
friends, and his new life exploring and helping the forest with the Hobs.
‘Harklights’ is a book that really pulls you in and is almost impossible to put
down. You get so wrapped up in Wick’s story and really feel anxious for him
and his friends. It has so many unexpected twists and turns that really take
you by surprise! They make the whole read even more enjoyable and
exciting, and make you want to read on and on.
The book also has a really important message about looking after our
planet’s environment and stopping deforestation. Wick has to help protect
the Hobs and their forest from the ‘monster’ that is eating it. This moral is
more critical than ever before in our real world, and it adds a really great
extra layer to the book.
Another thing I loved about ‘Harklights’ is the illustrations, also by Tim Tilley.
In a way, they’re very simple pictures, made of layers of silhouettes. But I
really liked this, because it meant I could fill in the details using my own
imagination. I felt a bit like Wick, who has to use his imagination to picture
what life is like outside of the factory.
Overall, ‘Harklights’ is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it
for children aged 8 and up, and even adults. If you’ve read and enjoyed JK
Rowling’s ‘The Ickabog’ then you would absolutely love ‘Harklights.’ I hope
Tim Tilley writes a follow-up book soon!
About the book
“A charming fairytale adventure with an enduring ecological message.” Peter Bunzl, author of Cogheart
Wick has always lived in the dark and dreadful Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage, working tirelessly for greedy Old Ma Bogey. He only dreams of escaping, until one day a bird drops something impossible and magical at his feet – a tiny baby in an acorn cradle… As midnight chimes, Wick is visited by the Hobs, miniature protectors of the forest.
Grateful for the kindness shown to their stolen child, they offer Wick the chance of a lifetime – escape from Harklights and begin a new life with them in the wild… Winner of the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize, Harklights is a magical story celebrating family, friendship and the natural world, filled with a message of hope for our times.