The Boy Who Lost His Spark

By Maggie O'Farrell

Illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

The new children’s book from the multi-award-winning author of Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell, paired once more with Daniela Terrazzini’s stunning illustrations.

Someone in this house was sad but pretending not to be. Someone – and this thought made a smile curl up on its face – needed some nouka-mischief. When Jem and his family move to the countryside, he doesn’t like his new home one bit. It’s an old cottage on the side of a hill, where strange things keep happening: shoes are filled up with conkers, the stairs become tangled in a woollen maze. Jem’s sister Verity is certain it is the work of a “nouka”, an ancient creature from local folklore that lives deep down inside the hill. Jem, however, is adamant that there is no such thing. But this small mythical creature, so attuned to the hearts and minds of others, does exist. And, what’s more, it is determined, through mischief and mayhem, to help Jem reignite the spark within himself once more.

Categories: Picture Books

For readers aged: 5+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406392012
  • Published: 06 Oct 2022
  • Price: £14.99
  • Size: 250 x 210 mm
  • Pages: 112

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Customer reviews


'"an autumnal balm for anyone in need of a little magic in their lives."' children's book of the week, the Times

'"Expert storytelling conjures up an unhappy boy whose little sister believes in naughty magical creatures. It suggests that a bit of wild behaviour can be cheering.”' ‘Watch Out For’ for children’s fiction in the Sunday Times

'Traditional in its style, this beautiful book will tug at the heart of any reader regardless of age. […] No one would be unhappy after seeing the stunning illustrations that accompany this extraordinary story.' Sunday Times, “The 60 children’s books you should buy this Christmas as chosen by the booksellers of Ireland”

'a tender story […] Jaglenka Terrazzini’s illustrations sit at the book’s intersection of mythical intrigue and emotional turmoil.' ‘The next chapter in children’s picture books’, Financial Times

'"A gentle, empowering tale with entrancing illustrations.”' Daily Mail

'This is the dream team: Maggie O’Farrell (Hamnet) and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, my favourite illustrator of children’s books.' the Times

'"wonderfully magical"' Mariella Frostrup, Times Radio

'"The magical elements of the story pair beautifully with the ethereal illustrations of Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, making for an entrancing tale – and one many children who have moved somewhere new will relate to."' - syndicated in NewsChain, Northern Echo, and Dorset Living

'"The Boy Who Lost His Spark, undeniably has a magical, timeless quality to it, reminiscent of those ancient Celtic legends. […] timeless"' Irish Independent

'“Exploring how we deal with pain, loneliness and tough emotions when we face changes and challenges, it’s a beautiful book for everyone."' Pick Me Up’s Book of the Week

'"beautiful illustrations"' I newspaper

'Listed in ‘What to Read’ for Country & Town House' Country & Town House

'featured in Bella magazine' Bella

'Featured in the October Previews' The Bookseller

'Children's Book of the Week' Eastern Daily Press

'The plot and narrative is perfect.' Parenting Without Pain

'This gentle, heart-warming story is illustrated throughout in full colour by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. Her colours are beautifully true, as is her depiction of children’s expressions and attitudes. The whole book is lovingly designed and presented' ‘7 stunning picture books, 6 awesome authors, 5 fabulous artists’

'Dramatic, incredibly evocative and full of atmosphere this is a stunning read.' Armadillo Magazine

'A beautiful and atmospheric long-form picture book for older children set against a dramatic backdrop of an ancient hillside.' Book of the Day, ACHUKA

'[…] an uplifting tale […] Maggie O’Farrell’s masterful storytelling is accompanied by beautifully traditional illustrations by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini to make this a special picture book for children seven years and up.' the Gazette & Herald

'This gentle, heart-warming story is illustrated throughout in full colour by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. Her colours are beautifully true, as is her depiction of children’s expressions and attitudes.' 7 stunning picture books, 6 awesome authors, 5 fabulous artists

'This is a beautiful book with a lovely story of a boy finding a magical creature. My daughter loved the mischievous Nouka and wants to find one herself! The illustrations were wonderful and really help to bring the story alive.' Toppsta Reviewer

'Lovely book. We really enjoyed reading this together. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, I think this will become a favourite in our house.' Toppsta Reviewer

'This is a lovely book with amazing illustrations and a really intriguing storyline! A future classic, for sure.' Toppsta Reviewer

'The book made me happy and also curious as to what would happen next. Me and my brother really liked this book and looked forward to our mum reading it as a bedtime story.' Toppsta Reviewer, age 8

'class were absolutely engrossed in this beautiful tale of magical creatures, adjusting to life in the country and leaving everything he once knew and was familiar with.' Toppsta Reviewer

'The Boy Who Lost His Spark is a beautifully-crafted, old-fashioned folk story with a contemporary spin. […] A gorgeous, heartwarming tale.', "10 best Irish children's books of 2022"

'perfect for sharing with 6+ readers […] This tender tale's folkloric magic is heightened by Daniela Terrazzini's atmospheric illustrations.' Best children’s and YA books of 2022, Guardian

'A glorious book, perfect as a gift.' LoveReading4Kids

'gentle but intriguing (and beautifully written) story which lightly but poignantly weaves themes of displacement, change, emotion and acceptance.' Big Issue in the North

'Featured in Pen & Inc Autumn/Winter 2022 listings, highlighting the best in diversity and inclusion in children's books.' Pen & Inc

'This is a beautifully written children’s story, creating magical creatures who are enticing and wholly forgivable. The illustrations by Daniela Jaglenka T errazzini also deserve a note: they are colourful, detailed and enhance the story on every page.' syndicated through to the Yorkshire Times, Lancashire Times and Cumbria Times

'Beautifully atmospheric.' Childrens Books Ireland

'An enchanting book […] The stunning illustrations are such a treasure, creating an atmosphere and sense of wonder about the story.' The School Librarian

'A really delightful story for 7-9 years. The story captures the sadness of a child trying to come to terms in a new environment [...] The story is beautifully told and the full colour illustrations are just gorgeous and really enhance the text. I loved it and it is an ideal book for an adult to read to a child or class or for a child to read alone.' Read for Good

'Every picture is a delight to look at.' The Strawberry Post

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