The Unexpected Find
Toby Ibbotson


Written by Toby Ibbotson, son of the bestselling author Eva Ibbotson, this exceptional middle grade story is captivating, heartfelt and brilliant in equal measure. When a storm hits a small and sleepy town, it ravages every living thing. But storms don't just destroy, they uncover. And when a young boy discovers a mysterious object that has lay hidden beneath a centuries-old tree, he instantly knows that it's special. What he doesn't know is that his unexpected find will unite him with a girl searching for her missing father and trigger a series of events that will see them travelling across Europe under the most unusual circumstances. Beautifully written, The Unexpected Find is Toby Ibbotson's break-through masterpiece that's a classic in the making.

Your reviews

Connor, 11
This book is amazing! I loved every page and I'm disappointed I'm finished! I loved the way the book unwittingly guides all the characters into finding each other through curiosity and despair. Exploring the personalities and relationships of each person is extremely intriguing, while throwing in some useful analogies of life, which really makes you stop and think. The use of poetry is also very powerful, almost beckoning me to find out what it means. In my opinion, this is one of my favourite books of all time even if my usual type of book would be a lot darker ;)
Clare Wilkins, 9
Tony Ibbotson's second book is a glorious and life-affirming journey that sees a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters unexpectedly thrown (or are they very carefully put?) together on a quest to find a missing parent.

Judy's noble father has abandoned her in a heroic attempt to rescue a refugee friend who is in trouble. William's feckless mother has left him to fend for himself while she takes what she considers to be a well-earned holiday. When bullies threaten William and Judy steps in to save the day, a chain of events is set in motion that leads to the eccentric and joyous Mr Balderson and his seemingly endless (and prophetic) canons of knowledge. Stowing away when Mr Balderson and Judy set off to try and find her missing father, William's disarming innocence and a chance discovery under a fallen tree in the park are the glue that binds the story and the new characters that we meet together.

This is an extraordinary story, full of quite brilliant and original characters. All the main characters are well-developed, although there remains a necessary air of mystery around Mr Balderson that helps tie the realistic and fantasy elements of the story together. I am certain that young readers will be swept along by this charming and epic adventure. My only slight gripe is that the ending may be a little too neat and convenient for some but in truth I would find it hard to fault this book. A simply wonderful read.

400 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian

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