Great Illustrated Books

Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space (The Larklight series)

By Philip Reeve, Illustrated by David Wyatt

Bloomsbury USA Children, 2006
Pages : 250`
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up
ISBN: 9781599900209

Larklight is a rambling, ramshackle house that spins on its own remote orbit out in the deeps beyond the moon. It was constructed in the early 1700s, which, if you recall your history, was just a few years after Sir Isaac Newton's discoveries made it possible for people to travel and then live in Space. Twelve-year-old Art Mumby loves being out there, but his older sister Myrtle finds it dreadfully dull and bleak, and dreams of living in England. Father is a scientific gentleman who studies ichthyomorphs, which Arthur refers to as space-fish, and Mother is presumed dead, tragically lost while aboard a space vehicle several years back in 1848. On the morning, that Father anticipates the arrival of a visitor, a Mr. Webster, Art awakes to find the exterior of the house has been trussed up like an Egyptian mummy in thick white strands of spider webbing. When Father is regrettably detained by a rather large, threatening, white space spider, quite the size of an elephant, Art and Myrtle escape on a lifeboat and land on the Moon. There they are taken in by Jack Havoc, notorious teenage space pirate and heartthrob, and his misfit but lovable crew of extraterrestrials. Their subsequent adventures together constitute no less than trying to save the entire British Empire, including, of course, all of Her Majesty's Extra-Terrestrial Possessions, from tyrannical space spiders.

Art's extraordinary and entertaining narrative, a ripping read-aloud space fantasy, takes place in an alternate British Empire, though you’ll doubtless recognize the real people in the cast of many, including Newton, Sir Richard Burton, and Queen Victoria. Intricate full-page pen and ink illustrations help define some of the less familiar space creatures, as does the extraordinary website for this book, You're in for a jolly good ride, along with the sequels, Starcross and Mothstrom.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Anderson, M. T. Whales on Stilts. Harcourt, 2005. ISBN-13: 9780307284334

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. Scholastic, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780439678131

Farmer, Nancy. The Sea of Trolls. Atheneum, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780689867460

Florian, Douglas. Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings. Harcourt, 2007. ISBN-13: 9780152053727

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780060583064

L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, 1962. ISBN-13: 9780312367541

Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780060531829

Pratchett, Terry. The Wee Free Men. HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780060012380

Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. Knopf, 1996. (And others in the His Dark Materials series.) ISBN-13: 9780780680180

Reeve, Philip. Mothstrom: The Horror from Beyond Uranus Georgium Sidus! Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN-13: 9781599903033

Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles). EOS, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780156621618

Reeve, Philip. Starcross, or, The Coming of the Moobs, or, Our Adventures in the Fourth Dimension!: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats. Bloomsbury, 2007.

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 1) Miramax/Hyperion, 2005. ISBN-13: 9780786838653

Rupp, Rebecca. Journey to the Blue Moon: In Which Time Is Lost and Then Found Again. Candlewick, 2006. ISBN-13: 9780763625443

Critics have said

Philip Reeve's novel (Bloomsbury, 2006) combines historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction into a charming story that young listeners will devour.
Tricia Melgaard, School Library Journal