Nine Worlds in Nine Nights: A Journey Through Imaginary Lands

What would you do if everything you knew was turned upside down? If fantasy suddenly became reality? That’s the question explored in this curious, genre-defying picturebook, presented as the diary entries, sketches, and notes of famed (and fictional) theoretical physicist Dawn Gable. The publisher plays along, informing the reader that the following pages were collected after the professor’s death and given to Walker Books for publication.

Structured as a collage of papers, maps, and illustrations, the book tells the story of the physicist’s encounter with a mythical dragon named Hyllvar. In nine nights, he brings her to nine fantastical worlds that defy all her attempts at logic. These include well-known literary lands like Lilliput and Camelot; mythical realms like Atlantis and Valhalla; and more obscure settings such as the lost African city of Kôr and Mecanopolis, the city of machines.

David Wyatt’s colourful and detailed illustrations are a delight, especially when used as a backdrop to the many maps and scraps of writing. The ‘found’ nature of the documents can make reading them feel like an exciting discovery, even when some of the language in the professor’s journal seems a little overwrought.

If you know any young bookworms with a hidden adventurous streak, this odd, endearing collection might just be the perfect introduction to fantasy lands, from Norse mythology to Gulliver’s Travels. It could spark curiosity and imagination for years to come.