The Longest Night of Charlie Noon

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon
Christopher Edge

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788004947

"If you go into the woods, Old Crony will get you." Secrets, spies or maybe even a monster... What lies in the heart of the wood? Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are determined to discover the truth, but when night falls without warning they find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Lost in the woods, strange dangers and impossible puzzles lurk in the shadows. As time plays tricks, can Charlie solve this mystery and find a way out of the woods? But what if this night never ends...? A timeless novel for anyone who's ever felt lost. From the award-winning author of The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day.

Librarian's Book choice

New to the school and still feeling like an outsider, Charlie agrees to accompany Dizzy to the woods to see what can be found. Charlie's impressive knowledge of Morse code and encryption enables the duo to uncover a written message. They also discover that they have been followed into the woods by school bully, Johnny Baines. The three venture into the woods, trying to discover the meaning of a set of coded messages whilst fearful of the presence of the fabled 'Old Crony'.

The trio become lost, not just in the woods but in time itself and although the children do not leave the forest, they travel through time and they cross the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined. Glimpses of the present and flashes of the future are given, and these allow the reader to question the concept of time and the concept of fate.

This is a story with many layers. We feel Charlie's sense of despair and hopelessness when we read flashbacks to Dad's drinking and its affect upon the family. We feel the strength of the theme that anything is possible and that anyone can do whatever they set their sights on. This is a book about friendship and the power of hope. Our thinking is challenged as we ponder the meaning of time and how our lives are destined to be entwined with other's.

This is a thought-provoking read. The children's fear resonates from every page and this drives the story on. The peril of their situation and the intrigue and uniqueness of their situation makes this a gripping read. The changing relationships between the three children, their understanding of each other, and indeed of themselves, evolves throughout the long night.

School bully Johnny provides plenty of cause for contemplation - this book is an ideal prompt for discussions around why some children display bullying behaviour and we see, in Johnny, the difference that friendship can make. We see that Charlie has determination and spirit and is prepared to challenge the expectations of others.

This is an enjoyable read. Whilst its plot might be at first considered to be simple, its themes are complex and thought provoking. The three characters will leave an imprint on the reader's mind as we reflect upon their journey, through the woods, through time and through their understanding of self and each other.

There are plenty of conversations to be had throughout the reading of this book. I look forward to using it in class to generate philosophical discussions.

183 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher


Reviews

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon5/5

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon

Christopher Edge

Review

Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny all have their own ideas about what lurks in the woods beyond the edge of their village. Dizzy thinks it might a spy, Johnny talks about old Crony - the child-eating monster and Charlie, with an imagination piqued by secretly reading spy novels, is just intrigued.

Setting off after school to investigate, Dizzy and Charlie get ambushed by Johnny and when Charlie gets a knock to the head, a disturbing chain of events is set in motion. As night begins to fall, the children realise that they are lost amidst the strange sounds and under the dark canopy of the trees. Already frightened, their fear intensifies when they are struck in turn by disconcerting flashes of their future and past lives.

When Charlie hears a voice calling and finally has to confront fears of Old Crony, the strange strand of events begins to come together and the children realise how lost they have been and how being brave can change everything.

I am a huge fan of Christopher Edge so began reading this book with very high expectations. As ever, the writing is clear and precise and it's such a pleasure to read.

As with his other books, the author is trying to convey big ideas in an accessible manner and whilst as an adult I could follow this, my only gripe would be that some younger readers might find the time-slip passages a little confusing. However, I would urge anyone to persevere with this book because it is another short and emotionally-powerful read - and the absolutely brilliant epilogue explains everything!

183 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian

Reviewed by: Clare Wilkins