Mike lives in a land full of banana trees, rice paddies and brown, sun-scorched hills the colour of chocolate – it is very hot. One day he is out walking when suddenly there is an earthquake, a crack appears in the earth and Mike’s dog Bowow falls into it. Immediately afterwards a birthday invitation flies out – mysteriously telling Mike to just fall up! Mike jumps, falls asleep and wakes up in a living room in London, the other side of the world, complete with a fireplace and snowflakes falling outside the window. He meets another dog and a girl called Kaneisha. The adventure continues when another mysterious invitation arrives, via the chimney this time. Kaneisha’s dog swiftly followed by Mike and Kaneisha, ‘fall up’ the chimney.
They arrive in a strange land where they meet a very excited monster keen to celebrate his birthday. Party games including monster’s footsteps follow, before the children remember they need to go back. At home everything is normal – Mike wonders if this was all a dream, but then he finds another note….
This is a surreal story which plays with the idea of what and who might be on the other side of the world and includes a novel means of getting there and finding out. A suggested message is that although people may live far away, possibly in very different environments, we may still have lots in common and new friendships may be waiting for us. The story also explores the perennial fun of an edible fantasy world, chocolate cake boulders anyone?!
With an attractive layout, and full-colour illustrations, this is an accessible and enjoyable read for newly independent readers.