The Boy Lost in the Maze

Publisher: Otter-Barry Books

While learning the myth of Theseus at school, Theo is inspired to search for his own long-lost father in modern-day Britain. Theseus travels towards King Aegeus, defeating murderers along the way. Theo meanwhile encounters swindlers and liars. These boys feel lost without their fathers, yet their respective voyages show they are clever, resilient and know right from wrong.

Both journeys, skilfully woven together in verse, feature decisions. Both boys are forced to examine what it is to be a man, and what they’re looking for in a father. Theo later realises he has a father figure in a teacher who praises his poetry.

The Minotaur’s voice is heard too. He is also a boy lost in a maze, both literal and emotional, which invites the reader to consider who really is the monster.

There is an interactive element, taking the reader to a certain page if they think Theseus should fight, and another if he should flee, for instance. This doesn’t feature throughout, but it’s an engaging extra, and the ‘dead ends’ of various choices cleverly echo the maze.

Kate Milner’s illustrations are full of atmosphere and Coelho packs in a lot to think about. This would be a thought-provoking class reader for keen teenage readers.

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