Jack is a boy who lives with his two brothers and parents on a rural farm in Australia. His home life is abusive and dysfunctional. Jack and his brothers are very unhappy and downright scared of their alcoholic father. One day, Jack seeks the peace and tranquility of a valley a good distance from home.
While in the valley, Jack has an accident that knocks him unconscious. While unconscious, Jack is transported to a serene land where he meets a magical creature named Ugo. Ugo becomes like a mentor for Jack. He teaches him about the physical and spiritual worlds, and how they are connected.
During his time with Ugo, Jack learns that the physical world is not always what it seems and that life experiences shape human behavior. Upon learning this, Jack decides to unearth why his father was so unhappy and what happened to cause him to start drinking in the first place. Will Jack discover what happened to start the chain of events that created his miserable life? Can it be changed?
The author, Geoff Parton, does an amazing job explaining a difficult and abstract concept. Through the eyes of Jack and the teachings of Ugo, the reader learns that there is a world beyond our physical realm: a spiritual realm. The author did a wonderful job of developing Ugo's character as a loving and carefree guardian angel.
This existential concept is handled expertly and at a level that middle age children can understand. Even older readers can appreciate the thought that there are worlds beyond our physical world, ones we cannot see but can sense. This thought gives the reader, of any age, a sense of calm and happiness and makes them root for Jack and his family to have the happy ending that all children deserve.
This book could be an excellent tool in getting children to realize they are not alone in their struggles and that there is hope.