When the world starts to get a bit heavy, I love getting lost in a good fantasy novel. Make-believe worlds, magical systems, and creatures of all shapes and sizes can take you away from the real world for a time and give your mind that much needed break. When things began looking particularly dire, like the latest round of news cycles, I knew I needed something really fantastic and most importantly, fun.
Enter, Middle Grade Fantasy! This genre is one of my new favorites and my latest adventure was The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell. Reader friends, buckle up because this is one fun and wild ride!
When Suzy wakes up to strange noises in her house one night, she is shocked to find train tracks running through her home and her parents sound asleep on the couch. The train tracks turn out to be for the Impossible Postal Express train that is owned and operated by trolls and delivers packages to all of the Impossible Places.
So what does Suzy do? She jumps aboard of course! Thinking she will have an incredible adventure and be back home before her parents wake up, Suzy’s plans quickly head south when her first package begs her to be saved-yes, the package- from the evil witch. Now in a race to save her mysterious package, her new friends, and the wondrous world of Impossible Places, Suzy must rely on her love of physics and wits to save the day. Along the way, Suzy will discover new friends, amazing new places, and help stop an evil mastermind who is meddling in the workings of other Impossible Places.
Suzy is a wonderful character. She’s smart, loves physics, is inquisitive and her bravery knows no end. She is one of those really good kids that doesn’t come off as annoying or preachy-she just really seems to be a genuinely good kid and does her best to be a kind friend and fix her mistakes.
I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Impossible Places! All of the different worlds and the way the train tracks would adapt to each was really fun. There are a few illustrations of the different worlds and the train that were wonderful-I wish they had been in color, but that’s just what I always prefer. I really loved Suzy’s undersea adventure with the treasure hunters-super cute. The fact that a postal train will deliver a message in a bottle and gossip to sailor ghosts is just delightful.
If you have an adventure loving reader who is looking for their next fantastical escapade, I would highly recommend this for independent readers-grades 4 & up. If you’re reading this aloud, it would be great for younger kids as well. According to Amazon’s website, book 2 in the series should be available October 2019.
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Full disclosure time: I borrowed this copy from my local library. In fact, I ordered for my own Youth Department. Always check your library first and if they don’t have it, recommend they buy a copy. We really do like getting recommendations!