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Pugs of the Frozen North – Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

 

What a lovely book. It’s not the most fantastical of the lovely books collaborated on by Reeve and MacIntyre, but it probably has the most heart.

This gorgeous little book follows Shen the Cabin boy from the Lucky Star ship which becomes stuck in ice and has to be abandoned. The selfish Captain Jeggings dumps the cargo, which includes 66 adorable pugs. Once Shen meets Sika they embark upon the greatest race – The Great North Run, because the prize is the winners hearts desire.

The characters they meet along the way are wonderful, from eternally hungry suspiciously human like Yeti, to snow trolls and Helga Hammerfest, whose sled is pulled by two polar bears Snowdrop and Slushpuppy – and is super proud of her beard as ‘most ladies don’t care for beards, but I find mine helps to keep my chin warm’. And indeed at one point it helps keep 66 pugs warm too.

The art work is beautiful, the two colours working so well together, with line drawing conveying so much emotion, action and fun all at once, and the writing is hilarious, the language whimsical and where it needs to be the plotting is carefully done to make the most of what an age 7+ audience can follow.

With a mixture of Wacky Races, a heroic quest and a barrel of belly laughs, there’s thrills (in the ice), Spills (in the ice) and a surprisingly emotional conclusion (location not be be spoiled as to reveal anything).

Don’t forget Reeves and McIntyre’s new creation, The Legend of Kevin can also be bought in the shop – and who doesn’t want to read about Max the boy and Kevin the Roly Poly Flying Pony who crash lands into his life….