Slippy and the Sequence of Spontaneous Setbacks
Author and Illustrator- Michael Klaus Schmidt
Paperback 200 pages
When the author, Michael K. Schmidt, got in touch with me some months back, I was naturally curious about this series of books – this was his description of the book-
The stories cover many important themes including, but not limited to, good behavior, friendship, loyalty, cheese, social justice, giant purple sea-monsters, environmental concerns, time travel and more.
The Adventures of the Salamander is a series of stories written by a Muslim author (me) but intended for a general audience. So, while the books do not refer to Islam or Muslims directly, I wrote them so that Muslims (and actually people from any faith group) can read them without feeling like they are compromising their values.
I just had to know more!
The story itself is about a young salamander named Slippy. Slippy’s village is invaded by a group of mean-spirited lizards, who want to force the poor salamanders to bake cupcakes for them. Slippy escapes to find help, and in the process, finds himself on an epic adventure that takes him to the ends of the earth, and beyond.
This is truly intriguing, adventurous and enthralling read. After wrapping my head around the fact that the main character is a salamander (yes, the amphibious kind) I progressed into the book with no idea of what to expect. Along Slippy the Salamander’s journey, I came to know many other interesting facts and tidbits about the various creatures mentioned, real and otherwise, including terrapins, hedgehogs, trolls and earth-wyrms!
This is great for all ages of children. So many useful bits of information intertwined with loads of adventure, unexpected dramas and twists. There are bright, colourful and detailed illustrations by the author himself, which are accompanied by shorter, large print captions. These tell the story in fewer words and are great for younger children. The more detailed information including footnotes, maps and appendices are perfect for older children and provide some very thought-provoking and often funny insights.
This book is fantastic for children’s imagination. The fantasy creatures as well as the real, fascinating animals allow them to use their own creativity and vision to understand and put things into perspective. Fantasy and imaginative play are building blocks of children’s intellectual and creative ability and by reading books like these it gives them their own imaginative outlet. What’s remarkable is that this book is the result of a pictorial story that the author himself drew when he was 5 years old. He reproduces it in the book as a handy appendix, which I think is a great motivation for children to get their own creative juices flowing.
This is the first book of three and contains the first four volumes of Slippy’s adventures. Each volume so far has added to the weight of Slippy’s task. He has now dealt with purple monsters, pirates, trolls and more and we will have to wait and see how this will all help him finally free his village from the nasty lizards and establish social justice for all!