Friday, June 1, 2018

Cakes in space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Astra and her family are on their way to a new space colony, far, far away. Astra is a little worried about sleeping for thousands of years, but her parents both reassure her that things will be fine. However, before she can take a nap of that duration, she needs a snack! Guided by Pilbeam, a friendly robot, she asks the giant Nom-o-Tron to make her a cake. The ultimate cake! Unfortunately, it seems to break down before she can get her cake and she wanders off to bed. When she wakes up, she's shocked to discover that they're only 99 years into their journey! And all that time the Nom-o-Tron has been making cakes and the cakes have been evolving....

A terrifying array of sweets, some very dim but possibly friendly (or possibly not) aliens obsessed with spoons, and some helpful robots all appear in this hilarious adventure. Ultimately, Astra must be brave and clever if she's going to outsmart the sentient cakes, escape the spoon-hunting aliens, and save the ship! Fortunately she has help from Pilbeam and the Nameless Horror. The book is illustrated in shades of orange and gray and, while just 200 pages, has fairly challenging vocabulary.

I hung on to Larklight, Philip Reeve's nutty steampunk adventure of alien top hats and giant spiders, all circling around a large Victorian house as a space ship, for many years. I loved the crazy adventures and it came in with a very high lexile level, which was useful. But, alas, I found that my young patrons' dislike of steampunk and wacky British humor exceeded their desperate need for books with a high lexile. It is quite probably that the books will have to go on the next weeding cycle, which is coming up soon.

When I was selecting books for the science fiction genre for my book club, I ran across this new title from Philip Reeve and couldn't resist selecting it to see if my readers would be interested. It did get picked by one reader, but they said it was too silly. Alas. However, I enjoyed it myself and I am happy it's available in our consortium in case I ever run into any other fans.

Verdict: If you have fans of Reeve's previous silly books, or those who like this particular British vein of humor, this one is sure to be snapped up. If not, it's probably best to let it go.

ISBN: 9780385387927; Published 2015 by Random House; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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