Hi Bob
Glad it was helpful. I know the feeling of having read something so many times you become blind to it. I spotted another ‘his mum’ by the way. ‘He was not sure where his mum had got to.’
I’ve been mulling over your conundrum with the ending. I believe with children’s books your readership is considered to be 3 years younger than your character, so that would be 9-10 year olds.
Possibly you’re right to pull back a bit with the shocking ending, so as not to overload a 9 year old. I like what you’ve done with Giselle’s suggestion and mouthing ‘Mum.’
I’ve had a flip through some books I was reading to my kids a few years ago, and I’m not so sure about bringing in the older authorial voice. They all seem to stick with the same tone, and would a 9 year old find it confusing that the breeze puts an arm around Tom’s shoulder? You’re in great control of your writing, so perhaps you could pull back, without losing the young tone?
Just a few thoughts. Hope they’re helpful in your mulling.