Captain Cal Books 3 and 4, by Jan Dallimore

Ebby, Dan and I quickly prepared The Silver Pig for another dangerous adventure into space.
‘Don’t forget to pack the chocolate fudge, chips and space rolls,’ I said. ‘Last time we were starving.’

Captain Cal and his crew are back in action, with two more exciting adventures. In the first, Cal receives a call from the BAIT (Bureau Against Interplanetary Trickery) commander. Professor Spitzer – once a gifted inventor, but now an evil mastermind – is threatening to take over the world. Only the crew of the Silver Pig are intrepid enough to take him on, and save the world.

In the second adventure, Cal and his friends take part in the Great Space Race, Cal’s chance to prove he is the best pilot in the galaxy, but first he has to overcome the cheating and trickery of the other pilots.

Captain Cal and the Robot Army and Captain Cal and the Great Space Race are the third and fourth books in the Captain Cal series, aimed at emergent readers making the transition form picture books to novels. There is plenty of action told through simple text in the first person voice of Captain Cal. Illustrations on every page not only complement the text but also show the three child characters acting out their adventures in back yard play – the Silver Pig a tin shed, and other characters including the family dog.

These easy reads are likely to appeal to both boy and girl readers in the six to eight year old age group.

Captain Cal and the Robot Army and Captain Cal and the Great Space Race, both by Jan Dallimore, illustrated by Richard Morden
Black Dog, 2007

Captain Cal Books 1 & 2, by Jan Dallimore

My name is Captain Cal and I am in charge of The Silver Pig – an Intergalactic Probe Spaceship.
My crew and I keep planet Earth safe from evil aliens and other space terrors. We were also the official tasters of my mum’s secret recipe chocolate cake.

When the call comes from BAIT (Bureau Against Interplanetary Trickery), Captain Cal and his crew, Co-pilot Ebby and Chief Navigator Dan, are ready for their first adventure. They launch The Silver Pig and set off to save the Earth from total destruction by the evil Bloggs (Biggest Losers of the Greater Galaxies). They land on Capricorn as an overheating The Silver Pig struggles to survive a massive space storm. The valiant crew must disable the Blogg spaceship and repel a multitude of the evil Bloggs.

The second adventure sees Captain Cal and his crew called on to save Earth from being buried beneath mountains of rubbish. The Grotts, messiest aliens in the Galaxy, keep sending all their junk to earth. The brave crew use the Centro-sucker Magnetised Vacuum Maximiser to suck up all the rubbish and dump it in a Black Hole. Unfortunately, they accidentally suck up a Grott. With the Grott headed for the Black Hole, it looks like the crew could be in strife.

This is a new series, pitched at emergent readers (particularly boys), with illustrations on every page. Exciting adventures are launched from the backyard, using simple props and a healthy dose of imagination. High tech solutions are achieved using low tech components. The main characters are introduced in each book and a Contents page lists chapters like ‘The Slosher Washer’ and ‘Hopping Mad’. The final pages offer extras like a quiz and space information. Add shiny covers and cartoon-like illustrations to the exciting and satisfying stories, and it’s easy to see these short chapter books finding a devoted readership. Recommended for 6-8 yo readers.

Captain Cal Space Warrior, by Jan Dallimore, ill Richard Morden
black dog books 2007
ISBN: 9781921167812

Captain Cal and the Grotts by Jan Dallimore, ill Richard Morden
black dog books 2007
ISBN: 9781921167829

Granny Adventurer, by Jan Dallimore

Our Granny needs supervision day and night. She is a walking catastrophe. Talk about little kids getting into regular trouble. Granny is a thousand times worse…

When Granny announces over breakfast that she’s off to the Amazon to search for the rare Tootle Bird, nobody is surprised. Granny loves adventures. So, with the kids in tow to help her carry, she jets off to the jungle to meet up with her old friend, Professor Crumble, and venture into the deep dark unknown.

But when they find the Tootle Bird, Professor Crumble finds himself trapped in its nest, waiting to become the tootle’s breakfast. Can Granny save him?

Back at home, Granny decides to take the family camping. But Granny’s idea of camping involves a huge motorhome, which leads to all kinds of chaos at home, on the road and at the camping ground.

Granny Adventurer is the third title in this quirky series of junior fiction from Black Dog Books. Containing two stories, and with loads of humorous illustrations by Heath McKenzie, these are suitable for boy and girl readers just making the transition to chapter books.

Kids will love the zaniness of Granny and the improbability of her adventures which see her always come out a hero.

Lots of fun.

Granny Adventurer, by Jan Dallimore, illustrated by Heath McKenzie
Black Dog Books, 2006

Granny Survivor and Granny Guru by Jan Dallimore

Our Granny needs supervision day and night. She is a walking catastrophe. Talk about little kids getting into regular trouble—Granny is a thousand times worse.

Granny may be old but she isn’t ready to retire quietly. When her family stops her from learning to surf she goes shopping instead – and gets flattened by a truck. This has unexpected consequences she lands herself a starring role in an action movie. Next, she joins a gym in a quest to win a triathlon, before turning her hand to inventing.

These two little books are packed full of laughs and action. Granny is a do-anything lady who gets into all sorts of scrapes which young readers will find hilarious. Each book contains two separate, but sequential stories with easily accessible text and loads of illustrations.

Suitable for readers aged 6-10 as they make the transition into junior novels.

Granny Survivor and Granny Guru by Jan Dallimore and Heath McKenzie (illus.)
Black Dog Books, 2006

This review first appeared in Reading Time Magazine.