Pugs of the Frozen North, funny Fantasy by Philip Reeve, illustrations by Sarah McIntyre
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thus far, my experience with Philip Reeve has mainly been reading the Larklight series two or three times. This is also a charming book full of confidently offbeat characters and a realistic sense of the importance friendship, belonging, and doing the right thing have to the target audience.
Shipwrecked by the sudden freezing of the sea, Shen finds himself alone and saddled with 66 pugs that the captain had said would sell
in like hot pies. He finds the Po of Ice, formerly the Post Office where he meets Sika. A misunderstanding or two later, the two embark on the Race to the Top of the World, where the winner will gain their heart’s desire.
This book is best read to/with kids who don’t question the logic of everything and who enjoy random silly things for the sheer awesome factor. Things like shrinksnow and yetis who eat pasta made from snow and hate to wash up. The other racers are a good mix of characters, such as the fashionable Mitzi, the robot-building scientist, and the beleaguered butler serving the nasty entitled son of the last winner. My favourite is Helga, the bearded woman who is kind and pragmatic, and who prefers Winter and the cold.
The illustrations are cute and the message at the end is suitably warming without being kitschy. This book would make a good gift for just about anyone, child or adult.