The blurb states that ‘Zizou Corder’ is the pen name of a mother-and-child partnership, and so I had half an eye out for changes in gear, stylistic leaps that would indicate changeovers; but no, the narrative appears seamless. They must have had great fun writing it.
This is an adventure which begins in a future London where cars and cats are blamed for the asthma which affects nearly all children. Charlie’s brilliant parents are working on a cure for it and are getting close to finding one when they are kidnapped. Charlie sets out on the dangerous journey to find them, aided by the fact that he can speak cat! He befriends the lions on a circus ship that he joins, and together they continue the search.
I once heard Margaret Meek say that we would do well to realise that despite what the romantic tradition tells us (I’m afraid I can’t remember her exact words), we always have a didactic purpose when we write. We can’t help but pass on cultural and political values. This is a story very much of our time, deftly touching on current environmental concerns, multi- and inter-racial relations and the power (and corruption) of big business and multinational drug companies.
It is a good racy read, the first in a trilogy, and we will need to read all three to get the whole story. I, for one, want to know how Charlie will rescue his parents and where the lions will end up. To be enjoyed by readers of 8+.