Caleb’s Cab – Sally & Sylvain Chomet



Walker Books

November 2016

ISBN: 9781406342277

RRP $24.99

I actually read in the Christmas holidays but really I just wasn’t sure what I thought about it.

Having investigated a little, I see that the author/illustrator pair are well regarded and award-nominated creators of animated shorts.

This would explain the (to me) highly unusual illustrative style. I find it a little too dark to appeal to my own taste but do believe that there would be many children who would enjoy its difference.

The story itself is also very different. I’d probably describe as a detective story for children with serious overtones of Mad Magazine, the Child Snatcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and the Grimm Brothers.

In a place where children are basically sold off, never to be seen again, Caleb lives with his mother all alone since his father disappeared mysteriously.  Their town is grim, dingy and people live in almost abject fear. In a moment of crisis Caleb uses his father’s old-fashioned cab to undertake an emergency trip and finds himself whisked sidewise (?) into a vaguely parallel town where families are abundant, colours are everywhere and all the citizens speak with outrageous French accents.

Confused and confounded Caleb discovers his father has been trapped in this strange world since his disappearance and so he sets about rescuing him.

The abrupt ending paves the way for a second instalment at least.

While the publisher suggests children of ten upwards will enjoy this I feel that may be a little young to understand the sometimes complex plot.

Like all Walker books this is a beautiful production with pages that beg to be turned and stroked.

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