Her very urban, controlled son must acclimatise to a world with more freedom but no phone signal or wifi. His grandfather, dealing with his own grief, recognises that Dylan is depressed. Reading novels and learning to sail helps. But the thing that really makes a difference is his nurturing an injured swan; a popular trope in children’s books, but one rarely told with such sweetness and sensitivity.
When the swans’ field comes under threat from a developer and Grandad becomes ill, ecological activism and a crowd-funding scheme motivate Dylan and allow him to spread his wings. Lewis makes subtle points about the way children are raised and educated in 2021, while avoiding preachiness. This urban duckling becomes something rather beautiful.