A Boy Arrives by Stephen Meek

There is no greater joy than snuggling up in the double bed with a child either side and reading an enjoyable book. It’s obviously more pleasurable if that novel provokes a reaction, be it laughter, sadness or fear. That’s the magic of a good story. It transports you to another world, so far away that even if the phone rings, it takes you a while for it to pierce the imagination bubble. This book was one of the few that did that for me and my sons, aged 9 and 12. 

It was a brilliantly funny book that made us all laugh out loud. It was also affectionately gentle without spilling into overly sentimental. It takes you to Dunnydark Hall, a dusty old mansion and introduces the owner Grimwood Streep, his butler Molesburry, and his cook Mrs Budd. You soon find out the characters haven’t been involved with society for a long time, until that is, a small boy called Jimbo is forced upon the residents. It’s a story where even the mean has little menace and yet, you are led along their journey so beautifully that you are happy to follow. I suppose that would be my one criticism, the threat is toothless and interesting off -shoots are thrown away. 

However, for me and mine, it was one of those rare books that you feel a better person for having read it. A silly, well written story that completely improves your mood and gives you a previous moment of togetherness.