by Walter Moers
A Bluebear has 27 lives, or so Walter Moers would have us believe in this documentation of the first half Captain Bluebear’s lives in this radical fantasy/folk lore epic of bizarre mythology. With a similar approach to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but a Homer-like epic feel and a Pratchett-worthy collection of characters; Bluebear’s experiences range from the bizarre and amusing to the strange and confusing. His lives include being born in a walnut shell floating on the open sea, educated inside a mountain by a seven-brained professor, conversing with ideas inside a titanic brain and taking up work entertaining massive crowds with ridiculous tales. Along the way he gets marooned on an island of luxurious foods that tries to eat him, sucked into a tornado to live with a rapidly ageing tornado-population and even winds up in an Ankh Morpork-esque metropolis of weird and wonderful creatures.
Fantastic to an almost unparalleled extent and only occasionally boring despite being 700 pages long; the 13.5 Lives of Captain Bluebear is a book I will leave strategically around my children in the hope that they will pick it up. In fact, it’s one of my favourite children’s books and to this day I still occasionally pick it off the shelf for a bit of light-hearted personal escapism; though nothing can come close to the first cover-to-cover reading of this epic!