Having children has done many things to my life – generally fantastic things – but one of the best things they have done is reminded me how wonderful it is to read a silly story. I don’t know when last you read a silly story but I highly recommend it. Following on from my previous post where I mentioned that I have been taking my creativity a little too seriously, I thought I should share with you some stories that are amusing for children (and kidults).
I don’t usually do book reviews but I enjoyed these stories so much, particularly for their silliness and seeing as I’ve been up to my eyeballs in edits for my upcoming novel, I needed a bit of a laugh. I dove back into some of these (to also spend time with my kids who were beginning to forget what my happy face looked like) and decided I should share them with you.
These are fairly recent reads… they are categorised for a younger age group (7-11 years) than my children but are clever enough to reach children of all ages – yes, that includes you. You’ll see what I mean when you read them.
Cakes in Space: By Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre
Personally I am quite a fan of both cake and space, so this one was an obvious choice. Seriously though, anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know I am a huge fan of Philip Reeve’s work. His latest partnership with illustrator Sarah McIntyre is no exception. He’s temporarily traded in his gritty Municipal Darwinism and larking space operas to do something a little new: wacky illustrated stories. The first installment was called Oliver & the Seawigs, a rollicking adventure with living, moving islands, sarcastic seaweed and a short-sighted mermaid (just to mention a few). Cakes in Space is just as ridiculous and silly, only this time we are assaulted by ravenous, living cakes and crazy spoon-loving aliens. My kids love the silliness of these stories.
You can find Cakes in Space here
And don’t forget Oliver and the Seawigs
You can follow Mr Reeve’s adventures here (with information about his other amazing books including the Mortal Engines series and the Goblins series)
And Mrs McIntyre’s shenanigans here
Goth Girl: A fete worse than death by Chris Riddell
My love affair with Chris Riddell’s illustrations began a few years ago when I picked up a book from The Edge Chronicles – fantasy adventures for 12-14 year olds (or grownups like me) which he writes with Paul Stewart. I love his illustrating style and I’ll be honest – I’ve become a collector. If I pass a bookstore and see one of his books, I buy it. If for no other reason than the illustrations. Thankfully, his writing is fantastic too. We discovered his books for younger readers with the fantastic Ottoline series. If you enjoy endearing, quirky fantasies these books are perfect. Ottoline has become such a favorite in our house that my daughter will often leave home with odd shoes on (read the books to find out the significance of that). Then Mr. Riddell came out with Goth Girl. These are just as fantastic as the Ottoline series, with a crazy cast of characters and loads of references to things only adults will pick up. I love these books particularly because it’s as if Mr Riddell has found whatever box creativity comes in and pulled it apart to reassemble it in some unrecognizable form. The quirky detail in these books is just fantastic.
You can find the Edge Chronicles here (WARNING: this series is highly addictive)
You can find the Ottoline series here
You can find the Goth Girl series here
Here’s more about Mr Riddell
Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
I’m not sure I could imagine a better pairing if I tried. If someone threw Philip Reeve in there I think I would faint. Not only does this book come with a Neil Gaiman story and Chris Riddell sketches but also an audio book read by Mr Gaiman himself!!! Swoon. Neil Gaiman has such a particular cadence to his speech that captivates me – he is a pleasure to listen to.
This is the craziest story I’ve read in a long time. It is so far-fetched and ridiculous and takes such unbelievable turns that it had my kids and I in stitches. We have since then made up a few of our own ‘Fortunately…’ stories – usually to explain why we’re late for things.
You can find Fortunately the Milk here
You can watch Mr Gaiman being a literary rock star here (because, also, he’s written some other rather good things)
As much as I love my kindle, I bought most of these books in paper. The colours, illustrations, the textures, the covers, the fonts – they’re just beautiful to behold! I did buy one or two of them in digital format only to go buy a second copy in print (crazy, I know). These books are far less serious than my upcoming book (out in March 2015 with Fox & Raven Publishing) but very much in the tone of a work-in-progress which I hope to be talking about next year.
I hope you get a chance to read some of these rollicking reads. In the meantime…