Tjibbe Veldkamp


How does a young family cope with the dramatic loss of a mother? Tjibbe Veldkamp has written a touching story about this subject. Mother Annabel has been dead for some time and Bas is driven crazy by his dad Door (he’s as big as one), who can’t let her spirit rest in peace. Door tries to make contact with her and doesn’t hesitate to involve the weirdest methods and people in the process. In his quest to find his dead wife, he forgets his sons Bas and Bobo. Together, the boys try to lead some kind of a normal life by going to school and getting their hands on food in most unconventional ways!

The whole story is infused with a sense of darkness. Firstly there’s darkness in the house, which Door has decided on because spirits don’t like the light. But there’s also darkness in the constant arguments between Bas and his father, in the threat of the family falling apart and in the dark irony with which Bas records events as they head for a break-up.

One evening Bas receives a text message: ‘I’m here. Anna’. Door believes that Annabel’s spirit sent it. But Bas thinks that it’s from Anna, the girl with the strangely restless hands. When that turns out not to be the case, she goes with him in search of whoever sent the text. The end of the story is a poignant one that lays bare the relationships within the family in an unusual way.

Without any sentimentality, Veldkamp depicts three lonely people and their frantic attempts to deal with their great sadness. The father Door, who can’t face up to reality; the angry and rebellious, but also really insecure Bas, who fights with his father; and little Bobo, who shuts himself away with a cookery book and does everything he can to avoid arguments in the family.

By Dorine Louwerens

Tjibbe Veldkamp describes this bizarre family situation with a healthy dose of humour that keeps things in perspective… A story that’s both funny and overwhelmingly sad, about what grief can do to people.


Veldkamp’s world is realistic, but he has a keen eye for the comical and his original brainwaves often lead to crazy situations. SMS is a beautiful book, with a surprising conclusion.

Dagblad van het Noorden

Tjibbe Veldkamp

Tjibbe Veldkamp (b. 1962) has written both for the very youngest readers and for young adults, and everything he writes is well worth reading. He studied psychology in Groningen and then started writing for children. Even his most serious work has always remained fresh and direct, perhaps in part…

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SMS (2006). Kinder- en jeugdboeken, 95 pagina's.

Age: 9+


English (PDF document)



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