Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CARNIVAL IN A FIX by Philip Reeve


From the Not-So-Impossible Tales series, volume 4

by Philip Reeve ; illustrated by Sarah McIntyre

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-385-38800-9
Publisher: Random House

An extraterrestrial girl wants to become a repairwoman at a moon-based amusement park.

Emily, depicted as a light-skinned humanoid with a reptilian tail and pointy ears, has lived at Funfair Moon ever since she hatched. She loves everything about her home and idolizes the maintenance staff who keep things running. But when an inspector makes a surprise visit just as everything seems to be malfunctioning all at once, the future of the park is thrown into jeopardy. The root of the problem is recurring and obvious—few readers will be distracted from it by the endless parade of disasters. While the plot is simplistic, the world it takes place in is good fun; there are charming ghosts in a haunted-house attraction, rides built for giant-sized creatures, villainous space overlords, and all sorts of playful oddities. The artwork does a good job of showing how strange the space creatures are, and it captures the sense of movement as Emily and the repairmen (and they are both male) set off on a whirlwind chase through the park, trying to keep it running. The ending of Emily’s story is as predictable as the culprit, but the latter’s motivation is amusing.

More cotton candy than substance, this book trades plot and character for a tour of an amusing setting and a series of mishaps.

(Science fiction. 7-11)