5.0 out of 5 starsMy son has LOVED every Philip Reeve book
January 25, 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
My son has LOVED every Philip Reeve book, this one being no exception. Very creative and engaging writing that captivates my 7 year old and myself alike. He challenges his readers with his exceptional use of the English language and combining that, with his compelling storytelling, makes this something that should be on every child’s reading list.
4.0 out of 5 starsI really enjoyed the book before this
December 2, 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
Interesting read! I really enjoyed the book before this, Oliver and the Seawigs, so this one had tough competition. I read to my 5-year old and he liked it as well. Thanks for creating such a fun story!
This is one of the Reeve/McIntyre Not-So-Impossible Tale books, (I think currently there are three different ones), and my favorite so far. The blurbs fairly describe it as an exciting and slightly silly illustrated space adventure, and that's fair as far as it goes. But, it's a lot more than that. (The cover and the alien cupcakes do suggest that the book is more childish than it really is.)
The book has an advanced chapter book feel, partly because of the sophisticated vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. This is not written in that punchy, direct style that's intended for starting readers and that you get in early chapter books. Rather, the book has a more grown up feel. It isn't patronizing or condescending or impressed by its own antic silliness. The author tells his off-kilter story with a straight face and treats kid readers with great respect.
And the book really has all of the things I most admire. The young heroine, Astra, is independent, resourceful and grounded. She is observant, practical, brave and kind, but still relateable to any young reader. The jokes run the gamut from silly to very sly and subtle. Dialogue is sharp, clear and natural feeling. There is zero angst or family drama. The scares are scary enough for the story but not scary-scary. Pacing is brisk but not frantic. Scenes are well set; the illustrations are a bonus, but not strictly necessary because the settings are so well described. The author has taken care to fill in the story around the edges. By that I mean it isn't just a slam-bang action tale. Astra's trip on the space shuttle and her experience of weightlessness and her experience of cryogenic sleep and her first meeting with the killer cupcakes and so on all feel real because so much care is taken in making it seem real.
This might be a young reader's first contact with a plot that has more than one point. Things happen and then other, different things happen. Lots of early chapter books, understandably, have simple linear and uncomplicated plots. Here, the story progresses through numerous acts, with new characters, new twists, surprising developments, and unexpected angles popping up every other chapter. A young reader can certainly follow it, but the experience of riding such a narrative roller-coaster has a certain satisfaction to it.
So, not to put too fine an edge on it, this book was just an excellent find. It is better than I expected in every important way and a satisfying hoot. (Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
5.0 out of 5 starsPhilip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre make barmy but great children’s books
December 15, 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
The story itself is both amusing and completely barmy along with being loads of fun to read. It made me laugh, out loud while I was commuting (I must say I got strange looks from other passengers on the train), all the way through I couldn't put it down – it was a real page turner. Philip Reeve is a very accomplished writer for children, which adults happen to read too. Both my partner and I love his work. The book is affectionately fashioned with some charming effective graphics from Sarah McIntyre and their partnership is a real ‘force multiplier’ as the narrative and the pictorials enhance the story. A book that would be a bright and notable addition to any bookshelf - be it, for a child or adult.
Sarah McIntyre has lovingly produced some gorgeously effective illustrations – that are lovely and zany I hope we get to see the colourful edition when it comes out. This book is a worthy addition to his other brilliant books such as Oliver and the Seawigs and I really hope that a sequel to Cakes in Space is made. A narrative that I think boys and girls aged 6-9 would appreciate, especially if they like adventures and speculative fiction.