The Sky Over Rebecca, by Matthew Fox, for Timeslip Tuesday

The Sky Over Rebecca, by Matthew Fox (November 14, 2023, Union Square Kids in the US,  April 14, 2022, Hodder Childrens in the UK), is my favorite of all the new to me books I've read so far this year.  It was supposed to be last week's timeslip Tuesday, but when I was done reading it, instead of sitting down to review it, it was all too fresh and raw and sad in my mind (in a good way) for me to want to think cogently about it.

It's the story of ten-year-old Kara, a lonely girl living in Stockholm with her mother.  Although her beloved Grandfather lives close enough to visit often, which is a comfort, she has no friends, just bullies.  But one day looking out the bus window on her way to school, she sees a snow angel...with no footprints left by its maker.  And that is the start of a magic timeslip adventure, that leads her to Rebecca and her little brother Samuel, two kids living in hiding on an island in the middle of the frozen lake where she and grandfather go ice skating.  

Even Kara's great happiness about making a friend (and being the sort of person who can make friends, which she had worried about), doesn't mean she's not curious about the strangeness of Rebecca and her circumstances.  Gradually she realizes that Rebecca and Samuel slipped through time to hide from the Nazis, the only two from her family to escaped being murdered by them back during WW II.  Now Rebecca and Samuel, who can't walk, are stuck in their island hideaway, in the middle of the Swedish winter, in need of food and warmth, which Kara tries to provide (I liked that Kara's mother is able to help with this, concerned about situation but trusting Kara to do the right thing without trying to take over).  Even the boy who is the worst of the bullies is drawn into the mystery and becomes a good companion and helper (Kara grew tired of living in fear, and punched him, which tilted the balance of their relationship enough so that he, not redeemed but with a greater appreciation of Kara, can reshape their relationship).  

But she can't think of what she can do to help them move on....until Rebecca's prophetic vision of an airplane, from the Allies in the war, landing on the frozen lake comes true.  And oh my gosh do things take an utterly gut wrenching turn at this point, and I wept.  

It is utterly gorgeous time travel, of just the sort of magical slipping through the years that I love best. It's not just the two kids from the past here in the present, but enough of Kara slipping back to make the whole thing dreamlike and wonderful (and also gut wrenching).  It won awards over in England where it was first published, and I'm so glad I heard about it and got hold of a copy.  If you like Action and Adventure, it might not work for you, but if you want a story of a remarkable friendship between brave girls in a cold and snowy setting, with time travel that will remind you of old favorites (and some tense moments that I would count as action with a small a) do seek it out!

I would so dearly love to give it to my young self, who would have read it over and over, but am glad I haven't gotten so old as to not love children's books (even though I have so many on hand that I don't get to reread as much as I'd like...)

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