Home > Fantasy, Intermediate Fiction, Junior Fiction > The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else

The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else

The Travelling Restaurant Jasper’s Voyage in three parts by Barbara Else. Pub. Gecko Press, 2011.

Lady Gall is the Provisional queen of the Kingdom of Fontania and a nasty piece of work she is as well. She has no claims to the throne and does not have the power of magic that is possessed by the royal family, so she bans it. Big mistake!

The true king died shortly after a catastrophic event that became known as The Big Accident and the crown and heirs to the throne disappeared. Lady Gall takes over and sets about, in a tyrannical way, to keep the throne for herself and destroy all those who are the rightful heirs.

Jasper’s father works for Lady Gall in the  Workroom of Knowledge but he is only there because he has invented a beauty product called beauteen which Lady Gall thinks makes her look beautiful. Two fingers down the throat here.

Jasper sees Lady Gall try to poison his baby sister Sibilla and this precipitates a late night escape by the whole family by ship, a ship that is later sunk in a storm scattering the survivors to different parts of the Kingdom of Fontania.

Jasper doesn’t get on the ship his family does as his Uncle Trump ensures that he stays on the dockside, but Jasper is resilient and takes a small colourful ship called The Travelling Restaurant that is owned by Polly and Dr Rocket. They sail from the  City of Spires chased by Lady Gall and her henchmen.

However all is not as it seems and everybody is someone other than who they say.

A brilliant fantasy/adventure story told with a gusto and enthusiasm that typified Margaret Mahy at her best. When the book awards are being divvied up next year watch this book.

Essentially for primary/Intermediate children and a good read-a-loud as well. I also think there is a need for a sequel.

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