A picture book from Mini Grey will be beautifully designed to the last detail. This, her latest offering, is no exception. From the caption on the cover to the detailed end papers, the language, the use of different fonts, the reader is transported into space – recognisable through the clever references to real space history as well as the familiar stories ranging from Dan Dare to Star Trek – and beyond. But all the time, there is the suspicion that this is, in fact, a wonderfully imaginative game. Grey just skips the reality check. Instead she invites the reader to join her and her characters in a space adventure that doesn’t have to leave the confines of home – where you can have Ketchup Volcanoes, cutlery can have character and games are best played together – even if you don’t know the rules.
There is a great need for picture books that can appeal to older children but in a lively, dramatic way engaging adults as well. Mini Grey excels at this and Space Dog is another one to recommend. This is not a book to read aloud at a distance but to share and explore, to relish the references and uncover the jokes. It is a book that can be returned to again and again to discover further details to delight. Indeed, there is a danger that the whole is too busy, but the text is presented in a good sized, clear font that balances the drama of the design ensuring the reader is carried through the whole without confusion. Recommended.