When the circus comes to town, young Christopher sneaks off to the big top where he makes two new friends – a girl, Sophie and Duke, a talking dog. The three of them steal away in a hot air balloon to a magical land peopled by strange characters.
Translated from the original Russian by Helen Hagon, the book is authored by Max and Maria Evan, who have created an enjoyable tale that uses interesting ideas to explore time and how clocks work. The authors’ intention seems to be to utilise these ideas as learning tools, although I thought the suggested age range of 6-12 felt a little too broad. While I enjoyed the story, I did think the plot was overly complicated for the length of the book and might have worked better if the story and characters were developed more.
Having only read the ebook version, I can’t really comment on Maria Evan’s illustrations, as my basic Kindle doesn’t do them justice, but I did find colour copies of some of them elsewhere so I’m sure they’ll work well in the paperback version. Even so, I think the book would have benefited from more illustrations to break up the story a little.