Author Sally Chomet
Illustrated by Sylvain Chomet
Published by Walker Books in Hardback
Release date 03 November 2016
A Children’s Fictional Book – for 8 years +
Overview: Caleb’s Dad has vanished. Caleb has one clue of his Dad’s last movements and so he tries to solve the mystery. The Money Mongers might snatch him but Caleb is determined to solve the mystery of his Dad’s disappearance.
Comment and Guide:
A French tale but in some ways it feels British, yet, it is a neither nor kind of place. The text containing colloquial speak from a time long gone will be unfamiliar to young children or to their parent reader even i.e. ‘Mongers” ‘Greasy comb overs’; trestle table; camphor, Spam, canteen, bingo halls. In most cases, it is not always wise for a children’s author to even try to be authentic in writing their story of the past using language and referencing things using old terminology, as there can be a real possibility of ending up with something irrelevant and unappealing for its child audience. That said, if you’re going to attempt it, then do it like the Chomet’s have done in this story. Modern day life is switched on enough to engage a child and a child does not need to know or understand everything to get a handle on things and to enjoy it. The narrative can leave one feeling rather quizzical whatever the age. The language is lively throughout and words like ‘Pleb’, ‘computers’, ‘DNA’, ‘microwaves’ etc fill the lines too. This eccentric story is well written and the writing flows well. Illustrations by animation film director, Sylvain Chomet. Chomet’s illustrations are fab and oldie world authentic in their muted tones. This is a book that is best read out loud and if an older/adult reader gets to grips well with the lively dialogue this would make for an enjoyable shared reading experience! However, if selected for a short bedtime story read, then this would probably be something that would run over a couple of nights.