Synopses & Reviews
Wiley Miller's comic strip, "Non Sequitur," is syndicated in more than 800 daily newspapers. Now he presents his first book for young readers--an exciting adventure about a boy who saves the world.
Talented and well-known syndicated comic strip artist Wiley Miller presents a stunningly illustrated tale of a boy who is bored by his life and ready to break free from the lighthouse he calls home. Led off by a wonderfully eccentric professor in a hot-air-balloon ship, Basil travels to another dimension where he and a new friend save the fantasy city of Helios from destruction.
"Robotic armies, flying pet dinosaurs and jet-propelled helium suits feature prominently in Miller's first book for children, liberally illustrated and based on his (Non Sequitur) comic-strip character Ordinary Basil and set in 1899. The 12-year-old hero, bored with his 'ordinary' life on the Maine coast, longs for adventure. He soon gets his wish when he becomes the first Earth-dweller to visit Helios, a magical, futuristic city in the clouds, courtesy of Professor Angus McGookin's balloon airship. The man explains that humans have called Helios many things (Eden, Atlantis, etc.), but 'the history of Helios is the history of human accomplishment, not human self-destruction.' Basil quickly finds himself along with his new friend Louise in a battle with a stereotypical madman-genius, Dr. Von Rttweil (a fallen member of Helios's High Council). Other familiar archetypes and themes abound. Basil has been chosen out of all humankind ('The High Council will be most pleased to know you've finally been found'), for instance, and Von Rttweil's sidekick is a 'hideous, hunched assistant' la Quasimodo. Miller's diverse perspectives ratchet up the suspense, as in several vignettes depicting the children's ride on Louise's pet pteranodon. The characters' exaggerated facial expressions nicely counter the compositions' Gorey-esque edge. Miller has packed plenty into this engaging escape of a read, with a whiff of commentary on contemporary times. Readers will be glad Basil broke the confines of the funny pages. Ages 7-10." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Together with such visuals, the spaciously designed text and plot-driven action will help struggling readers (or those new to chapter books) build confidence." Booklist
"[T]he characters are broadly drawn, but dynamic, expressive full-color drawings add excitement." Hornbook Guide to Children
Bored with his life in a lighthouse, Basil sets out for adventure and soon arrives in a mysterious city in the clouds, where he discovers and tries to foil a plan that threatens the entire world.
After boarding a boat attached to a balloon and flying through the air, twelve-year-old Basil Peppererell's boring life gets the dose of excitement he's always wanted as he flies to a hidden city where he meets an array of geniuses, learns about their new inventions, and assists them to stop an evil villain threatening their unique home.
About the Author
Wiley Miller began his career as a political cartoonist in 1976, and his incisive drawings have won him several honors, including, in 1991, the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He moved to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1992 to devote his full-warped attention to Non Sequitur. Non Sequitur is the only cartoon to win National Cartoonists Society awards in both the comic strip and comic panel categories, and Wiley Miller is the only cartoonist to win a Reuben in his first year of syndication.