This is a beautifully crafted fantastical mystery about a little boy called Till who loses his dog Bess. A mysterious stranger called Mr Finder offers to help Till find his dog, and they interview various witnesses including a heron, a mole, a riddling cat - and Miss Mousey, whose sketch of a peaceful riverbank offers a vital clue. The quest to find Bess is full of magic but Till begins to mistrust his supposed ally Mr Finder - until at last he realizes the truth, and they track down the real culprit, a finder who likes to keep what he finds. At the end of this enchanting story Till is reunited with his beloved Bess and a new book - of the story - will be born.
Philippa Pearce and illustrator Helen Craig share two grandsons, Nat and Will, the sons of their children Sally and Ben. Philippa wrote A Finder's Magic for Helen to illustrate, and the name of the book's hero, "Tillawn" (Till), is an amalgam of the boys' names. The peculiar relationship between the old and the very young is a constant theme in Philippa's writing and when, late in life, she had the "unexpected delight" of two small grandsons, it gave her a renewed burst of creative energy. She called being a grandmother "a privilege, a rare, almost inexplicable pleasure - not just fun but something different, more." Philippa Pearce died in December 2006. As well as A Finder's Magic, a 50th anniversary hardback edition of Tom's Midnight Garden will be published in Autumn 2008 and the first Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture will be held on September 11th 2008. Helen Craig's work includes The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prize; Rosie's Visitors and the hugely popular stories about Angelina Ballerina. On A Finder's Magic, she says: "In 1996 when Philippa and I first discussed collaborating on a book (for our grandchildren) - I had done a scribble of an odd little man that she thought she would work with. As so often happens, the little odd man she created in the end was quite different. It has been the greatest pleasure for me to illustrate her story and the greatest sadness that she never saw the finished book. I hope she would have been happy with it."