Publisher: David Fickling Books
It takes a talented author to produce a novel for KS1 readers which sensitively addresses bereavement issues.
Newbery bases her novel around the legend of Lob-lie-by-the-fire. Lucy and her beloved grandfather enjoy gardening together through the seasons, and she becomes aware that she, like him, can sense-see a small figure who helps with the gardening.
When grandfather dies, Lucy fears that she has lost Lob for ever, and Lob himself seeks a new gardener to work with, rejecting those who do not allow him his freedom, until he discovers an elderly West Indian who gardens next to Lucy's family's new allotment.
Newbery relates Lob to the Green Man, and the book benefits from beautifully word-painted poems and Smy's atmospheric illustration.