It's no secret that I saw the name Neil Gaiman, got interested, spotted the name Chris Riddell and immediately grabbed the book (albeit carefully, so as to not damage the book), and ran to the tills with it. Without actually bothering to check the back of the book first, to see if I'd even like a book aimed towards younger readers. It's Neil Gaiman with Chris Riddell's illustrations - of course, I loved it!
The story is great fun for readers of any age, and I have a feeling that my fellow Whovians would love this romp through space and time. This was made all the better by various references to Doctor Who, although I may have just been seeing these. I like to think they were there on purpose. Although this is a children's book, I never felt silly reading it, or like the tone of the story was too young for me, as a 22 year old.
There's so many things in this book it's hard to know where to start - Pirates, Vampires, Ponies, Aliens. I loved that there were various clues to all of these in Chris's illustrations and the beginning and even as I'm looking back at the book now I'm finding more clever references. And of course, a lot of milk.
The illustrations had me sitting in public with a stupid grin on my face, because there were just so many. I was like a One Direction fan with a free all access backstage pass. The Pirate Queen was exquisitely drawn with lots of lovely details like skulls and crossbones around her skirt and neck. The Vampires (or Wumpires) were made even more hilarious by the presence of 'Pale And Interesting Edvard' and my favourite, the Dad himself had an uncanny resemblance to Neil Gaiman. He also looked like he could be The Doctor.
Read this to yourself, read this to your kids, read this to your dog, your gerbil, your granny. Just... read it.