A far-fetched, fantastical and fun adventure full of fabulous two-colour illustrations.
Kevin is a roly-poly flying pony from the wild, wet hills of the Outermost West, where some strange creatures out of legends and fairy tales still live. Kevin, however, prefers to live in a nest on the top of a tower block in Bumbleford. This is because his best friend, Max, lives in the tower block (and also because there is a constant supply of Kevin’s favourite food: biscuits, specifically custard creams). Kevin doesn’t want to live anywhere else. So – when he is kidnapped and taken to nearby Gloomsbury Grange – Kevin is determined to escape.
This is the second book about roly-poly flying pony, Kevin, and it’s every bit as good as the first. It may be far-fetched but this fantastical adventure is tremendous fun and is almost guaranteed to engage newly emerging readers.
The book opens with three pages that introduce Kevin (useful for anyone who hasn’t previously encountered a roly-poly flying pony). This is followed by my favourite page of the entire book which includes a picture of a tortoise holding a sign pointing to the start of chapter one along with the following text: “And this is Nobbly Nora, a friendly tortoise. (She doesn’t have anything to do with this story at all, she just wanted to be in a book)”. It might just be me (and the creative team behind this book) but this really made me smile. *
The story is crammed with these silly asides as well as an incredible array of characters. The main characters from the first book (Kevin, Max and his sister Daisy and, of course, those adventurous guinea pigs, Neville and Beyoncé) are joined by some wonderful new personalities. They may be stereotypes (deliberately so) but I just loved pop sensation, Misty Twiglet, her oversized butler, Lumphammer, and – best of all – her devious manager Baz Gumpton. We also have a new group of magical creatures including a centaur, a very small dragon, a gorgon, and a cardigan-wearing Faun.
The book is also filled with fabulous two-colour illustrations that act as a perfect accompaniment to the text. I could write a whole essay on the delights of Sarah McIntrye’s pictures which are filled with amazing characterisation and which add a whole extra dimension to the humour in this book. However, I will restrict myself to mentioning my favourite character – the mermaid with pointy spectacles who first appears on page 88 and who joins the daring escape in a wheelbarrow. It might just be me but this magical musical mermaid (who turns out to be the key to the plot) looks a little like the book’s truly talented illustrator.
If you enjoyed this, you should definitely read The Legend of Kevin by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. Alternatively, why not try one of their other collaborative stories Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space or my personal favourite Pugs of the Frozen North.
* A note to the creative team, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre: if you read this, please can Nora have her own story or a least a cameo in a future book? (Pretty please with tinkling, sparkly bells on.)