“The trouble with space is, there’s so much of it.
An ocean of blackness without any shore.
A neverending nothing.
And here, all alone in the million billion miles of midnight, is one solitary moving speck. A fragile parcel, filled with sleeping people and their dreams.
When Astra asks the Nom-o-tron for the ultimate cake she doesn’t realise that it might mean the end of the world for the space ship that her family is being carried to a new world on. She doesn’t realise that the ultimate cake will be a race of cakes that can eat their way through the space ships controls, and she doesn’t realised that her dad is coming to put her in her sleeping pod in just a few minutes. The Nom-o-tron has been happily spewing out cakes for 99 years when Astra finally wakes up, the space ship is off course and she is the only human awake. Can Astra defeat the human-eating cakes and stop the ship from being a wreckage with only the help of Philbeam, one of the only ship robots that doesn’t want to just put Astra back to sleep.
This book was hilariously funny and has a brilliant storyline aided by fantastic illustrations which make me want to shout from the rooftops that this pairing of authors should never be allowed to stop working together.
In the typical vein of an 8-11 book the storyline of Cakes in Space is not exactly complex. However what makes it stand out from the crowd is the brilliant illustrations which I mentioned above, the fantastic writing, and the fact that the story takes you places you will never have been before. The title, and one line in particular within the book, reminded me of the Samuel L Jackson movie Snakes on a Plane and I don’t know if the authors were trying to refer to that movie or if its by pure coincidence but I loved it… the simplicity of the title captures you and makes you wonder what cakes are doing in Space and why this is such a big thing, and the line that I refer to within the book was the perfect way to get that well known motherf*ing quote from the movie, into speech from a 7 year old, without the swears! I thought it was brilliant and something for the adults reading this book to their kids, if it was done on purpose!
Like I have said above the storyline is that Astra and her family are going to live on a new planet and have gone on board a space ship to get there. Right at the beginning of the book Astra is hungry and goes in search for food. When she finds the Nom-o-tron she realises that it will make anything she asks for and makes her first mistake of asking for the ultimate cake. She is put to sleep before the nom-o-tron can deliver her request but the Nom-o-tron keeps working because it knows that the ultimate cake request has not been met… the cakes it spurts out evolve and turn into something very nasty indeed. This all kicks of a sequence of events that Astra awakes to and that the reader is alerted to in the book. The story is nothing special when you think about it but whilst reading it it is turned into something very special indeed.
I think my favourite things about the book was that the authors have written a book that is perfect for a wide range of kids, be them male, female, younger or older. This book falls into the 8-12 reading range but it is easily accessible for younger readers if they are being read to by their parents or with the aid of their parents and I’m fairly sure that some older kids will love the story as well, if they gave it a try. It appears to be a book aimed more at boys because the topic of space so frequently is but the use of the female protagonist really makes it more accessible to girls whilst hopefully not excluding boys.
I loved the illustrations in the book and while there were some pages with little to no text on them I still took my time looking at them cos the illustrations told so much of the story. I think Sarah McIntyre is a completely awesome illustrator and really love her work from what I’ve seen of it so I am not surprised that I loved this… The level of detail that goes into the pictures and the amazing things that come out of them go much further than my imagination could on its own so they add a lot to the story!
I love the pairing of Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre and really hope they continue making book for years to come. I now have all the Goblins books on my wishlist along with every picture book that Sarah McIntyre has been involved with in the hopes that I can grow more of a love for these authors following on from this and their first collaboration Oliver and the Seawigs.Cakes in Space was published on September 24th by Oxford Children’s Books. My copy was gifted to me by a friend. To buy the book or for more info please visit: Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author website | Illustrator website