The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure (Legend of Kevin 1) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
|The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure (Legend of Kevin 1) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Pitched at the seven-plus audience, and losing some of the cutting comedy of old, this series will still welcome audiences to the singular world these two have provided in partnership.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: September 2018|
|Publisher: OUP Oxford|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet Kevin. He's a flying pony, and he's a little on the plump side. He loves biscuits too much is why, but he's happily living in the middle of nowhere, in the wild, wet hills of the Outermost West. Now meet Max. He's a simple human being, not flying anywhere, and wishing for a pet to share his time in his top-floor flat with, something his Byronically goth sister and parents don't agree with. One night, however, the wild and wet hills are wilder and wetter than usual, and an enormous storm blows Kevin out of his nest, and on to the balcony outside Max's window. The two are bound to become friends, but they might not be able to relax just yet, for the bad weather has not finished…
Having read more books for the young than is really healthy over the last few years, I can say the output of this pair has stood out, and that's not just down to the production values the publishers have thrown at them. I'm promised this will similarly be in a shiny, delectable form when finally presented to their audience, but for once that audience is a little younger. For this is a shade shorter than their previous (160pp as opposed to 240pp), a little more ordinary, and a bit less out-there humorous. It definitely seems geared to the under-tens as opposed to the under-twelves, which is a difference subtle only to the adult. But it's still a fine read.
I'm also promised this is the first of four books to feature Max and Kevin, and I guess to some extent hindsight shows you that a fair proportion of this is a set-up for the series, but you wouldn't really think it while reading these pages. You certainly get enough story and content – once more Mr Reeve's authorship doesn't really allow for any woolliness, and what's more the illustrations are just as wonderful as you'd expect (I loved it when a fish exploring the flooded town met with one of those plastic soy sauce fish from the takeaways).
But what I was also noticing from the get-go was that this had really reined in the wackiness. It didn't go for the out-and-out puns and goofiness, replacing them instead with a warmer, more sentimental charm for want of a better description. That said, the quirky certainly gets allowed to have a cameo – the supermarket manageress at her post in her scuba gear, the running (or should that be floating?) gag about two guinea pigs sailing around town, and so on. Plus it also brings back much-loved characters from earlier on in these creators' joint career, so it's clearly set in the same universe as what's come before. If you've been on board for those and have grown up reading these books, you might possibly find this a little trite and easy, minus the hard-and-fast jokes, and without the goofy edge. But if you remember this series is for your younger sister or brother, and that they will get to the stage of enjoying the previous four books in their own time, this will still provide some gentle, warm entertainment.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Using hindsight again, Pug-a-Doodle-Do! by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre is a successful link from one age group to another – bringing audiences of any age to the crafting table for doodles galore.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure (Legend of Kevin 1) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure (Legend of Kevin 1) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre at Amazon.com.
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