Middle Grade Reviews

Extract: Charlie And Me by Mark Lowery



Earlier this year, I read a special book about a pair of brothers with a strong bond. 

Charlie And Me follows Martin on a journey of a lifetime. Martin sneaks out of the house and travels across the country with the biscuit tin and his little brother Charlie. They are visiting the site of a beloved holiday.

A holiday where something happened. 

With everyone back to school, the guys at Piccadilly Press thought it would be lovely to share extracts from this uplifting and warmhearted book. 

Have a great school year, everyone, and keep reading. birdA few years ago, Mum told me I was the best big brother in the world. It was cool of her to say so, but I don’t see it like that. Charlie’s a right laugh, but he can be like a lost kitten sometimes – bumbling through life all confused and unaware of what’s going on around him. It’s not like I’m a good person or anything. I just have to help him out.

Still, Charlie doesn’t always want me to help him. He likes to do things his own way. Mum says he’s a free spirit, but I’d call him a loony. In the nicest possible way of course.

Even when he was a baby he was like that. It took him ages to learn to walk, but he never let it hold him back. He used to do this strange lop-sided crawl – the walrus flop, Dad called it – which was surprisingly fast. One time when he was nearly two, Mum put him in his travel cot (aka ‘The Cage’, because it was the only way to keep him still) and nipped upstairs to do something.

When she came back down ten minutes later, he’d disappeared. The front door was open. She thought he’d been snatched and she ran outside in a blind panic. And there he was – walrus-flopping across the road, cars slamming on their brakes and swerving out of the way.

Trying to piece together what’d happened afterwards, Mum reckoned he’d been bored so he’d bitten his way through the seam of the plastic mesh wall of the travel cot. Then he’d yanked the sides apart to make an escape hole, walrus-flopped across the lounge, somehow opened the front door and made a break for it.

Then there was the day when he was four and he decided he didn’t like his eyebrows. He said they were freaking him out. So, being Charlie, he shaved them clean off with Dad’s razor. There was blood everywhere. He looked like he’d been attacked with a potato peeler.

And how about when he played the innkeeper in the school nativity play? We still watch the film of it every Christmas. He only had one line to remember – ‘Sorry. No room at the inn.’ – but this is Charlie we’re talking about. After telling Mary and Joseph that they could stay in the honeymoon suite (who knows where he got that from?) and that the donkey could have its own room, he pulled the baby Jesus out from under Mary’s dress, held Him up by His ankle and announced: ‘Behold! The King of the shoes!’ On the film you can almost hear the teacher slapping her forehead off-screen as she says, ‘It’s King of the Jews. And put Him back – you’re a day early.’


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