The beautiful cover (illustrated by Rob Biddulph) made me want to love this book before I even began reading: thankfully the story lived up to its promise.
When Tash’s parents are seized by soldiers in occupied Tibet, she’s determined to find a way to rescue them. She resolves to ask for the help of the Dalai Lama, and sets off on a perilous journey across the Himalayas with her best friend Sam. Tash and Sam’s quest is pacy and compelling, with short chapters urging the reader on to the next stage of the adventure. The writing is clear and beautiful, and the political situation is touched upon with sufficient detail (including a scene in which a protestor sets fire to himself) to explain the difficulties Tash and her family face, without being heavy-handedly ‘educational’.
Tash and Sam are wonderful characters for children to relate to: brave and resourceful but also appealingly flawed (Tash is reckless, and Sam’s short temper brings the pair to the brink of disaster). There are endearing animal heroes too: two larger-than-life yaks, Eve and Bones, so vividly described they are every bit as lovable as the humans.
A hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking read for 9-12s.

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2 thoughts on “Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

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