One of the most enchanting books that I have read for a long time... I just absolutely loved it.

Kate De Goldi

The Travelling Restaurant

A pre-teen adventure/fantasy novel filled with colourful characters, and a highly likeable young hero.

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  • Description

    A pre-teen adventure/fantasy novel filled with colourful characters, and a highly likeable young hero.

    In the reign of Lady Gall (Provisional Monarch of Fontania), the word ‘magic’ is forbidden…

    When 12 year old Jasper Ludlow’s parents flee the city, he gets left behind and finds refuge on The Travelling Restaurant, a sailing ship captained by old Dr Rocket and crewed by feisty Polly.

    Jasper faces challenges, adventures, storms and hungry pirates. Should he go in search of his parents, or his lost baby sister? Who should he trust? And why is Lady Gall hunting him?


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin New Zealand
    Reader Age 11-14 year, 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Caleb (age 8), Family Times (NZ), June 2014

      I liked all the dangerous parts of the story, especially when Jasper went near the rapids. I would recommend this book to somebody who enjoys family and danger adventures.

    2. Lauren Fisher (age 6), Junior Journal, April 2013

      This book was so exciting I thought I might burst – I couldn’t wait to read it, and it was hard to stop at the end of a chapter…I recommend this for people who like adventures. This is a great book to share with your grown up.

    3. NSW Association for Gifted & Talented Children, October 2011

      Interesting characters, some imaginative ideas and fluent writing mean that The Travelling Restaurant has an action-packed narrative that will appeal to younger readers and is great fun to read aloud.

    4. Booklist (US), April 2012

      Blending humor, suspense, and poignancy, this absorbing fantasy-adventure features an engaging, everyday protagonist who discovers courage, resourcefulness, and confidence in the face of familiar and fantastical events. Diversely drawn, colorful characters, including feisty orphan Beatrix, further enhance this enjoyable genre entry.

    5. Horn Book Review (US), March 2012

      Constant action, lively language, and a Mahy-esque sense of whimsy carry the narrative as the mysteries unfold. Jasper’s startling ability to think on his feet will endear him to readers, as will his sister Sibilla’s authentic toddler personality, while hidden relationships revealed at the end make for a satisfying conclusion.

    6. Good Reading magazine, October 2011

      What a fun, exciting and magical adventure! This is one of those books that’ll make you want to read just a bit more before going to bed. It’s obvious to everyone, except Jasper, that he is far from being an ordinary boy. In the words of one of the characters, `He is the most dangerous boy on Old Ocean’.

    7. Starred review, Kirkus Reviews (US), February 2012

      A heaping plateful of adventure, spiced to perfection with dangers, deft humor and silly bits.

    8. Centre for Child Books Bulletin (US), April 2012

      Adventure fans with a taste for fine cuisine will delight in the mouth-watering descriptions that accompany the ship’s maritime mealtimes, while Jasper and company’s various run-ins with hot-tempered pirates, duplicitous journalists, and hat-loving monkeys make up the entertainment portion of this charming dinner and a show.

    9. New Zealand Books (review by Diane Hebley), Winter 2011

      Else keeps her tone light, but uses wit, satire, melodrama, and wild action to carry serious points of view, especially about power and corruption….In contrast, the emphasis on delicious food delights everyone as the story romps along through its three parts.

    10. ‘Canvas’, NZ Herald, June 2011

      New Zealand writer Barbara Else has woven a delightful story for younger readers … A charming fantasy with beautiful cover illustrations by Sam Broad.

    11. NetGalley (US), May/ June 2012

      The Traveling Restaurant was both exciting and funny. This mid-grade reacher is sure to be a favourite at any family’s read-aloud story time.

    12. Provo Library Children’s Book Review blog, September 2012

      Jasper is one of the finest young men you will ever meet in the pages of a book, though he doesn’t think much of himself, one of his many charms.

    13. Scene, May 2011

      Kiwi author Barbara Else excels with child-centred imagery – and the values she enshrines in her characters are genuine and unsentimental. The story is full of warmth, wit and wisdom… I adored this book. Absolutely fantastic – rush out and buy it, read it – and only then hand it over to your kids!

    14. Stradling the world of the written word, Joan Druett’s blog, April 2011

      Not only is it a romping tale in the oldfashioned rollicking bedtime-tale tradition, but it is jam packed with memorable characters … There are stacks of jokes for all ages. There will be times when the children laugh, and the adults wonder why, and other times when the adults laugh, and the children wonder why.

    15. National Radio (reviewed by Kate De Goldi and Kim Hill), April 2011

      Just an enchantment…this is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in several years and certainly the best New Zealand fantasy book in a long time…Else really knows what she’s doing here, it’s fabulously written, it rollicks along. On every page, just about, there’s a little surprise.

    16. North and South’s `Best Books for Christmas’ 2011

      Named New Zealand’s 2012 IBBY NZ Honour Book for Writing (a coveted biennial award), Barbara Else’s The Travelling Restaurant is an enchanting illustrated seafaring fantasy that might just trick kids into eating dinner.

    17. Christchurch City Libraries blog, April 2011

      The Travelling Restaurant is a magical story, set in a magnificent kingdom filled with colourful characters … The descriptions of the food that they prepare on the Travelling Restaurant will make your mouth water and your stomach grumble. Barbara Else has created a world that you will never want to leave.

    18. Story Time Books for Kids, April 2011

      It created a frisson of excitement I haven’t felt about a novel with magic at its centre since the first Harry Potter book entranced me with its cleverness, characterisation, values and humour. It has the wonderful characteristic I love of being about magic, and therefore fantastic, but incredibly grounded in humanity.

    19. New Zealand Book Council Newsletter, March 2011

      New Zealand author Barbara Else obviously has young people in her life, keeping her on her toes. If the mark of a good book is the age range of its readership, The Travelling Restaurant (Gecko Press) is a very good book indeed. The central idea is how to trick toddlers into eating their dinner. Most of us can relate to that. Lots of energy, colour and local childlike imagery. The main character, Jasper, is a likeable twelve-year-old boy. Good humoured family stuff with warmth and wit.

    20. Guide to Auckland, April 2011

      The Travelling Restaurant is a quirky, heartfelt tale about finding out who you are and how powerful you can be. Told in a simple but charming chapter book format, this book is perfect for confident readers aged 8-12…The Travelling Restaurant is a genuinely lovely read. The only down side to reading this book is the craving for pie that follows.

    21. Kate De Goldi, Good Morning, March 2011

      This is one of the most enchanting books that I’ve read for a long time…It’s got everything you’ve ever wanted from a fantastical children’s tale…I just absolutely loved it. I can’t recommend it more highly. Fantastic.

    22. Horn Book (US), May/ June 2012

      Constant action, lively language, and a Mahy-esque sense of whimsy carry the narrative as the mysteries unfold…

    23. Time Out Bookstore, Autumn 2011 newsletter

      The (provisional) ruler of Fontania, Lady Gall, has outlawed the word ‘magic’. When his family flees the city, Jasper finds himself seeking refuge on a mysterious sailing ship, called the Travelling Restaurant. A rollicking adventure story, highly recommended.

    24. Around the Bookshops, February 2011

      Twelve-year-old Jasper Ludlow sets off on the adventure of a lifetime when he is left behind as his parents flee the Kingdom of Fontania and in a bid to find them (and particularly his baby sister) he boards a very unusual sailing ship named The Travelling Restaurant. A book that cries out to be read aloud – Breakfast on the Travelling Restaurant/ Lunch with the Secret Prince/ Barbecue with the True Crown. As would be expected with any new book from Gecko this is a handsome publication. A bonus are the excellent fold out maps from the front and back jackets. A sequel is in preparation with a planned publication date for 2012.

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