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Children's Fiction Fantasy & Magic

Everton Miles Is Stranger Than Me

The Night Flyer's Handbook

by (author) Philippa Dowding

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Fantasy & Magic, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Adolescence
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

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Where to buy it


The sequel to The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden, shortlisted for the OLA Red Maple Award.

I wander around like any normal, paranoid, self-absorbed teenager. Do we all think we’re being chased by deadly entities, I wonder? Probably, but how many of us actually are?

Gwendolyn Golden, Night Flyer, floats over the cornfields all summer. What draws her to the same spot, night after night? All she knows is that change is coming: she’s starting high school plus there’s a strange new boy in town.

He’s Everton Miles and he’s a Night Flyer, too.

Soon the mismatched teenagers face dangers they never imagined, including a fallen Spirit Flyer, a kidnapping, and the eternal darkness of The Shade. How will Gwendolyn handle her new life and grade nine? With help from the Night Flyer’s Handbook and her strange new friend, it might not be that hard.

CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2017) Selection

About the author

Philippa Dowding is a children’s author, poet, musician and copywriter. She has won many industry awards and has had poetry and short fiction published in journals across North America. Her children’s books have been nominated for numerous literary awards in Canada and abroad, including the SYRCA Diamond Willow, OLA Silver Birch, OLA Red Maple, Hackmatack and White Raven awards. In 2017, Myles and the Monster Outside was an OLA Silver Birch Express Honour Book and her 2021 novel, Firefly, won a Governor General’s Literary Award in the Children’s Literature – Text category. Philippa Dowding currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Philippa Dowding's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2017)
  • Commended, Dewey Divas and the Dudes Fall 2016 Picks

Excerpt: Everton Miles Is Stranger Than Me: The Night Flyer's Handbook (by (author) Philippa Dowding)

I’m flying.
It’s 3:00 a.m.
I glide, effortless, over the rooftops and church spires of my little town. I float over the park that Jez and I meet at when we sneak out at night. The empty swings creak in the gentle last-night-of-summer breeze. I drift over the wooded lot next to the park then float slowly above empty streets. The backyards, driveways, and rooftops pass below me like a miniature village, a child’s play-world.
Past the library, then I drift lazily over The Float Boat, the only candy store in town. Mrs. Forest, my Mentor, and her husband are tucked up inside, cozy against the night. My school, Bass Creek Senior Public School, drifts below me.
Correction. My OLD school. Tomorrow, I start high school at the big building further down the street.
No. I’m not flying over the high school tonight. Tomorrow will come soon enough.
So I pick up speed. I’m still not great at flying, to be honest, but I can finally go where I want, although I may never get the hang of landing. The fence tops and tree limbs float below me until I reach the last street in town. I hover and look out over the September cornfields toward the distant woods.
There’s a solitary cabin at the edge of the forest. It belongs to Mr. McGillies, a local hermit, the old bottle collector who has sworn an oath to be my Watcher when I’m out flying. The truth is he saved my life recently, and I don’t know how to thank him. I’ve been drawn to this spot all summer, watching the shape of his dark cabin against the forest as I bob above the corn like a weather balloon.
Tonight though, something is different.
I gaze past his cabin, past the trees, out toward the glow of faraway city lights. Somewhere out there the oldest trees stand. Somewhere out there the Spirit Flyers wait, starshot immortals, guardians of light and air.
Then something flashes in the muddy laneway below me.
A small lost thing lies face-up in the mud. I drop and hover above the road to investigate. It’s a tiny figure, a doll made of corn stalks. It stares up at me with bright glass beads for eyes.
This is odd. Who would put a doll in the laneway like this? What child would have visited Mr. McGillies and lost it? None, since he never has visitors as far as I know. With one hand I clasp my father’s golden feather on my mother’s chain around my neck. With the other I reach down to touch the doll, but then I swear the corn rustles next to me and a voice whispers: Gwendolyn.
I zoom up above the corn.
The corn has never whispered to me before. Then a lone figure steps out of the field onto the muddy lane. It hesitates then takes a step toward me. A dark figure with glowing golden eyes.
And wings.
I streak home and dive into my bed.
I don’t know what I just saw, but I do know this: from somewhere out there, a darkness is coming.
And it’s calling my name.

Editorial Reviews

An enjoyable tale starring a relatable character experiencing everyday struggles as well as magical adventure, and as an added bonus, it can easily stand on its own.


Dowding’s effective use of magical realism gives this novel the flexibility to reconcile the minutiae of everyday life with the huge events that can derail it, allowing a resolution that neither diminishes nor exaggerates either of these polar opposites.

Resource Links

A must-read for Gwendolyn fans, this latest addition to the Night Flyer's Handbook series will not disappoint.

Canadian Children's Book News

Dowding offers a charming sequel that meshes the magical world of Night Flyers with ordinary teenage life effortlessly… A page-turner that is funny, magical, and entertaining.

Kirkus Reviews

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