Albert Talbot is a very imaginative boy who lives by many guises. One moment, he is the notorious desperado Clate Stouderhoofen, wanted for spittoon kicking and hat flattening, and the next moment he is Professor Octavius Pickleswick, mechanical engineer and inventor of robots but, in the end, he is always Albert. This book has a Vampire Cuttlefish in it. Could you possibly need any further proof that it’s amazing? If so, please read on, and I’ll do my best to convince you.
Albert (or should I call him Clate? Or Octavius? Or Zandrian?) is a hugely creative child, and this feeds into the pace and the colour of this gorgeously designed picturebook. It is a triumph of both writing and illustration from author Ben Manley and illustrator Aurélie Guillerey. Just the names of Albert’s imaginary guises are joyous enough; however, the real pleasure is in the detail of the worlds created, furnished by the toys and decorations in Albert’s room. From the aforementioned Vampire Cuttlefish, to the perilous trail to Mount Chirrachit, the book is a testament to the excitement and joy of imagination. It’s an absolute blast to read.