No he's not, this is just the title of David Almond's latest book, and his first for younger children, with illustrations by Polly Dunbar.
My last David Almond read was Skellig which came upon me by chance, hit me like a thunderbolt out of the blue and quickly whizzed up my list of favoured children's reads.
I'd been meaning to read it for years and when I finally managed it I was left almost bereft of words.
Not quite completely speechless though so here were my early thoughts posted here almost a year ago.
It's hard to know where to start with Skellig and to dissect out any part just does the book a
huge disservice, so suffice to say,amongst other things, it's about a
young boy's love for his baby sister who has been born prematurely.You
just have to read it to benefit from the full embrace of some of the
gentlest most moving writing around today in children's literature.
It's a powerful book for all its measured and unusual events and I was
on the brink of tears at one point in the book, but then young
Michael's love for his sister can't fail to move you.Nor is it
sentimental, far from it.
How I would love to have read this one as a child. I think great flights of imagination would have been the order of the day and it is a book that will stay with me now, but I feel sure it would have entered my canon of memorable childhood reads had it been around in the 1950's.
Having now read My Dad's a Birdman published by Walker Books, I'd be completely won over to David Almond's writing if I wasn't already. He has the happy knack of creating children who you can believe in utterly and Lizzie must join the ranks.
Lizzie lives with her dad and you sense that something sad has happened to her mum though this is never clearly defined beyond the fact that she's not around.Lizzie clearly has her hands full with her unusual dad and his dreams and the book is full of the improbabilities that defy adult understanding but seem perfectly logical to small children.
It's the adults who are unusual but aren't they all through the eyes of a child? Auntie Doreen whose answer to all life's problems is a home-made dumpling, Mr Mint the anxious school teacher and Lizzie's dad who is quite certain that, with a little thought and application, he can win The Great Human Bird Competition. By the end of the book you are convinced he can too but beyond that I won't breath a word.Polly Dunbar's illustrations convey the story simply and effectively and with a beautifully light-footed energy of their own.
This is a book about having dreams and living them, about the magic of imagination and about the power of love and I suspect children will adore it. It all just makes you yearn to be able to read as a child again and then to realise how vital it is to ensure that children do read as children as much as they possibly can. Books like this give children permission to be children and to dream, and grown-ups the chance to touch base and do a bit of that too.