While Mum is away on business, it's up to Dad to make sure that his son and daughter have everything they need. Like milk for their cereal. Dad goes to the shops, but is gone for really rather a long time. When he returns, he explains to his children why he was gone for so long. It's a story of adventure, danger, space aliens, time travel, vampires, angry South American gods, pirates and the amazing Professor Steg. The entire thing is beautifully illustrated by Chris Riddell throughout.
I got this book back in spring of 2014, when Neil Gaiman was on a short visit to Oslo to talk about his work with refugees. He also did a very engaging reading from this book, which had just been translated into Norwegian. This was when my friend Ida was still pregnant with her first child (she's currently expecting her second). I mention this because my friend's baby bump was the reason we didn't have to queue for hours to get to meet Mr. Gaiman and get our books signed. As we were about to find our place in the long, long line, a nice lady came over and asked if we wanted to be fast-tracked, so to speak. I got this book, and my copy of The Kindly Ones signed.
Obviously this is a children's book, for slightly older children, who enjoy being read out loud to or who can read the book themselves. There's just enough silliness and adventure to keep a child interested throughout. I read it during the October Read-a-thon and it was a quick and entertaining read, a sort of palate cleanser between longer books. Not exactly as deep or as brilliant as some of Gaiman's other books, but a nice book nonetheless.
Judging a book by its cover: The version I have is illustrated by the brilliant Chris Riddell, who has also done illustrations for the UK versions of Coraline and The Graveyard Book. I really like his art and there is certainly a lot happening on this very colourful cover. I think it's quite obvious that this is a children's book, and a rather eventful one at that. There's Professor Steg and the Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier. There's the Dad and his precious carton of milk. What you can't see in the picture is that the orange and gold on the cover is actually in metallics, so very shiny and extra psychedelic. It's a great cover.