The Cloudchasers, by Steven Hunt & David Richardson

Alice’s mind raced. The true horror of the Banker’s crime struck her with brutal force: he had STOLEN everyone’s imagination! Stolen it, so they’d be easier to control and enslave. She thought of her mother and her poor, broken father – even Thomas…Suddenly everything was clear.

Growing up in Bankertown is easy – if you conform. But Alice can’t conform. She sees beasts in the clouds, and likes to draw pictures. Now she’s been suspended from school and it is threatened that she’ll be sent to the Institute of Creative Conformity to be reformed. Instead, Alice escapes in a hot air balloon flown by her new friend Spinner, and accompanied by her unwilling brother Thomas, a model citizen of Bankertown.

In the land beyond the clouds Alice learns the terrible truth – that the Banker has stolen everyone’s imagination. Alice is determined to fix things, and restore imagination and freedom to her town, but first she must find the Banker’s father, and avoid recapture by the Banker’s henchman, the Catcher.

The Cloudchasers is an exciting picture story book, aimed at readers aged 9 and over. The story is dark, set in a world inspired by the Victorian-era, with factories and work houses, larger than life evil masters, and much drudgery. The story twists and turns, with fantastical creatures, goodies and baddies of equal strangeness, and surprises galore. Illustrated in dark colours using digital and 3D techniques.

Readers of all abilities will be drawn in to The Cloudchasers. For reluctant or less able readers, the illustrations and layout will add to accessibility, whilst more able readers will be delighted by the fantastical story. The only downside will be that they will be find themselves left hanging at the end, awaiting the conclusion to the story which will be released in October.

A visual and narrative delight.

The Cloudchasers

The Cloudchasers, by Steven Hunt and David Richardson
ABC Books, 2008

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