Jasper Ludlow thinks he is a very ordinary boy, not much good at anything. It’s his twelfth birthday, although his parents won’t admit it. He has to go to Lady Gall’s afternoon tea party, where you’re not allowed to say a particular word (hush – magic) and if you do, you’re carted off and never seen again.
But dodgy Uncle Trump comes visiting and gives Jasper a twelfth birthday present after all. From that moment on, Jasper’s ordinary life becomes very far from ordinary. His family has to flee from Lady Gall, who is the Provisional Monarch, and Jasper is left behind. He takes shelter on a very strange ship – The Travelling Restaurant. The crew – old Dr Rocket and feisty Polly – help him chase his parents, his little sister, and his uncle. He is caught in a storm, rescues a dodgy journalist (or is he a spy?) and evades the wicked pirate Captain Darkblood and his crew.
Jasper has to make a terrible decision – should he try to find his parents, or his little sister, Sibilla, who has also been lost along the way? Gradually, he sees signs that (hush –magic) might be returning to theKingdom ofFontania. What does it have to do with Sibilla? What does it have to do with the mysterious way Jasper survives dangerous rapids and a terrifying whirlpool? What does it have to do with an ordinary boy?
Monkeys, badly-fed soldiers, Beatrix the orphan, and the huge black hounds of Lady Gall all play their parts while Jasper tries his utmost to reunite his family. There are plenty of laughs and tears (and a lot more laughter) in the voyage of a boy who, with his quick wits and courage, turns out to be not so ordinary after all.
The Travelling Restaurant, the first book in the Tales of Fontania series.
Awards for The Travelling Restaurant
- Esther Glen Medal LIANZA Awards 2012
- 2012 New Zealand IBBY Honour Book for Writing (IBBY: International Books on Board for Young People)
- Honour Award for Junior Fiction, NZ Post Children’s Book Awards
- White Raven Award, International Youth Library, Munich
- Storylines Notable Book
- Starred Review Kirkus Magazine USA