The Nubbler ISBN: 9781858814353
Published by Orion, 1997
In many novels divorce and its effect on children is a side issue; in this one it is central. Rufus's parents fight all the time and Rufus is deeply unhappy. One night when he is crying, the Nubbler appears. Something of a cross between a dragon and a green dog, the Nubbler is a loveable creature who supports Rufus in his darkest hours. Sometimes he takes Rufus away to new and exciting places, and sometimes he is invisibly by his side, just to give him a little shove of encouragement. Most of all he empowers Rufus to have control over his own life. He supports him through his parents' separation and his fathers going to live with his 'friend' Eunice, and he also defends him from the school bully. The emotions of Rufus and his parents as they go through this sad time are made very clear, and the objectiveness with which Pam Ayres is able to make us see all sides of the problem is admirable. The Nubbler is a magic being, but he helps Rufus work through his difficulties on his own - and we see him through the worst of it. A tour de force.