It’s probably a good idea to avoid the film; this book could never have justice done to it on the screen. Although it is ostensibly a book for older children, its sensitivity and subtlety mean that probably the huge majority of older children will enjoy the plot and the characters, but not understand the undertones and nuances. There are some biblical concepts within the plot, some of them reasonably overt, and some less so; and the plot is not the usual predictable pap that kids seem to get fed these days. It is a masterpiece of writing, its entire concept is unusual, its characters are well-drawn and well-rounded – and in short it is one of those rare books that you really can bury yourself in, only to emerge out the other side with perhaps a slightly different view of things. This is a lovable book that while being gentle is at the same time powerful, and well before its time. In fact, were it to be written today, it would still be ahead of its time. Beautiful.