It's back! our annual festive campaign to persuade Santa to put a book in every stocking! Press here to read 2013 suggestions, and here for 2012's! We do this by aiding him (you know he is rather busy so keeping up with the publishing industry is tricky!) by asking authors, editors, readers and all round book lovers to write to the man in red and suggest good stocking filler book. Over the weeks approaching Christmas we have many cracking suggestions, but to kick us off we have one by the lovely Katherine Rundell!
Today's Book in Every Stocking suggestion comes from Katherine Rundell. We at Space on the Bookshelf we are great fans of Katherine Rundell and feel very privileged to have featured her on the blog several times, Press Here to read our 3D review of Rooftoppers, which then went on to win the 2014 Blue Peter Book Award.
I am writing to recommend a book that I think you, as a man with an unusual job, an understanding of the fragility of the space-time continuum and a love of travel, will adore. It's for 9-12 year olds, and is called Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door. It's the debut novel of Ross Montgomery.
There are stories that make sense, and a few stories that do not (looking at you, Cinderella. Shoe size is not a valid criteria for forging long-term relationships) - and there are stories that make a totally different kind of sense from that which you had expected. 'Alex' falls into the third category. To describe it without plot spoilers is difficult - but it's about the son of a famously failed explorer, on an adventure to the Forbidden Lands, in the company of a talking dog. There is survival, and real fear, and there is a secret to be discovered. If the Coen bothers wrote children's fiction, it might be like this.
From the very first page, the book flies. 'The world's biggest dog was a Great Dane called Gibson, who was 107cm tall, or 42 inches, which is about as big as a 42-inch television screen.' It's like a less sly, more mad Roald Dahl novel. There are chapters that will give a child the nearest possible approximation to the experience of being slightly drunk that they can legally access. There are bits, too, that will make you cry. If you are anything like me - and, Santa, you have given me no reason to think you are not - you will find Alex, The Dog and the Unopenable Door a book to cheer for. It is beautiful, and clever, and warmly, wittily insane.