Wednesday 15 September 2021

Peanuts and the Illustrated City

Peanuts and the Illustrated City by Rob Biddulph (Pan Macmillan) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781529076400

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Pernilla (Peanut) Jones is a creative and imaginative child who does not believe that her father has deliberately left home. She is angry that her mother is already dating and bored with her new school. When she finds a pen left behind by her dad, she discovers it has magical qualities: when she draws a door on a large piece of paper, she finds that she can open it.  Inside, she finds herself in another world called Chroma. She is convinced this is where they will find her father. She confides this to her friend Rockwell, and they enter what turns out to be a parallel world of illustrations. The two are followed by Little-Bit, Peanut’s 5-year-old sister. Inside, they follow a living, breathing (but drawn) dog, Doodles.

The mayor of Chroma is Mr White, a tyrant who wants to destroy every scrap of creativity and beauty. They soon meet Mrs M who says that Peanut’s father has been in the city of illustrations, but she believes he is in prison with her husband. The three children trek through the landscape in search of him, Peanut drawing objects (such as a bobsled and glider) which they need along the way. The three are helped by an alligator called Jonathan Higginbottom and people who belong to the Resistance. They meet numerous problems along the way, including nasty bulldog police officers and other enemies, but are saved by Table Guy, a clever version of Superman.

This is a highly imaginative, fast-paced adventure book about friendship and creativity with black, grey, and white illustrations on every page. Peanut's search for her dad continues in the next book in the series, Peanut Jones and the Twelve Portals. Highly recommended.

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