Michael and his parents move into a new house. It was to be a big adventure, his parents had assured him, but Michael hadn't been too sure. Then the baby is born - too early. She is very ill, and in and out of hospital, and everybody is worried sick. Mum is mostly occupied with the baby, and it is really up to Michael and his Dad to keep the house running.
Till one Sunday afternoon, Michael steps into the garage and finds...Skellig: 'filthy and pale and dried out', lying in the darkness, in the dust and dirt, behind the tea chests. Michael thinks he's dead, but he isn't, and Michael soon begins to see the truth about him.
Then there is Mina, the girl next door, unlike anybody else that Michael knows, with her drawings and her knowledge of birds. Michael knows that Mina will understand about Skellig.
Skellig, of course, is a magical being. If we did not know that Mina had seen him as well, and that Mum sees him too, we might, like Michael, have thought he didn't exist at all except in our imagination. Skellig isn't good; he isn't bad either. He isn't an angel, he isn't an owl, he isn't a person. He has sad, beautiful eyes, and wings that make him fly, yet he is covered in dust and cobwebs, eats bluebottles and spiders and small dead animals, and his breath stinks. He is a creature of the elements, primeval, fundamental, close to Nature, but he wears a black suit and loves Chinese takeaway.
David Almond writes with understanding, compassion, and sensitivity. Michael's feelings of fear, frustration and sadness over his baby sister's illness, his friendship with the strange and unusual Mina, and with his 'mates' Leakey and Coot, his relationship with his parents and the love he bears his baby sister are explored through the special relationship he develops with Skellig.
This is a tender, moving and profound tale that touches the heart, no matter how young or how old the reader.