A quiet boy by day, Eliot is transformed at the stroke of midnight into a superhero. He retrieves the queen’s stolen jewels, confronts escaped lions, prevents a ship from being wrecked and saves the planet from extinction when a meteor threatens to obliterate it.
Cottringer’s young hero’s exploits are recounted in a deadpan, matter of fact style (‘Luckily, Eliot is a skilled jet pilot.’) which leaves room for the drama and tension of each nerve tingling adventure to be conveyed via Alex T Smith’s illustrations. A first book from this new illustrator, his melange of collage, scribbly line, computer graphics and expressive typography is, in these post Lauren Child days, not so unusual. However, Smith makes the style his own with a vigorously inventive use of the page allowing the various crescendo points to build – the final meteor busting sequence being accorded a tense four double page spreads before we are reassured that ‘Eliot saves the world from destruction’. Some of Smith’s witty reference points (eg to the baddies in Bond movies) will perhaps resonate with adults rather than children but such multi-layering can only serve to enrich the visual language of young readers. A dynamic and satisfying debut that will be much enjoyed.