Billy is the son of less than competent magician parents. When he discovers a small snail in their store of spell accoutrements he determines to save it from becoming an ingredient in a magical mixture. Nigel – for so Billy names his new pet – becomes his playmate much to his parents’ amusement. Their efforts to divert his allegiance to more worthy creatures – a whale, a tiger or even a dancing bee – have terrible consequences. Feeling inferior, Nigel packs his skateboard and decides to go (leaving behind a note and a silvery trail). If that isn’t bad enough, Dad’s spelling ineptitude causes the other animals to set off a chain of disasters. But, a true friend can be relied on even in troubled times. All ends happily with Mum and Dad reformed characters, Nigel a hero and Billy delighted at the return of his wonderful friend.
The author/artist’s exuberant illustrations perfectly complement the pacey rhyming text. Her quirky characters, both human and animal, are a delight and the riotous scenes are packed with amusing details and visual jokes. There is excitement at every turn of the page.