Susan Cooper’s Boggart is Back!

Lynn: The Boggart is back—and Nessie, too! That news brought a lot of happiness to our 8-year-old focus group member who, with his dad, had recently inhaled the previous two books. I was pretty geeked myself to see Susan Cooper gift readers with The Boggart Fights Back (2018). It’s taken me a while to get this romp written up, but I hope you don’t waste any time before reading it!

The Boggart Fights Back by Susan CooperReaders fell in love with The Boggart (1993) over 20 years ago. Tom and Elly from that book and its sequel, The Boggart and the Monster (1997), are now grown up and themselves the parents of twins Jay and Allie. Tom has brought the twins to visit his father Angus in Scotland while he has business in Edinburgh. But Angus and the Castle Keep are under siege as the greedy and powerful developer William Trout sets his sights on turning the beautiful area into a hotel and resort. He wants to buy both the Castle and Angus’s store on the shores of the Loch. Angus is resisting, but Trout’s dirty tricks and destructive tactics have a lot in common with the bulldozers he sends roaring across the hillsides. Happily, the Boggart and its cousin Nessie wake from their long nap and join the fight, eventually enlisting many of Scotland’s Old Things, all creatures of wild magic.

There is so much to love in this funny reunion with the mischievous Boggart. Cooper does a terrific job of blending the fey creatures of the old tales with solid environmental science. The gleeful tricks of the Boggart and Nessie add a delightful touch, and the warm family relationships of the Cameron family are a lovely contrast to the odious Trout and his greedy disregard of anything but his own gain. I suppose I should mention here that the character of Trout may strike people differently depending on their political views, as there is a striking resemblance to a certain current important figure. For me, however, Trout’s comeuppance is a wholly satisfying plot element!

Readers new to the Boggart stories can easily start with this one, but it will propel them immediately to the previous two, so stock up!

Cindy: The first two books have new covers (again) to match this new installment.

As you can see, they’re much less ominous looking than the first versions. I do still miss the artwork of Trina Schart Hyman (book one below). Many of her covers remain favorites, along with her interiors! It’s probably wise to stop featuring computers on the covers of childrens books, though, given how fast the tech changes. #oldschool




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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