'Late one autumn afternoon Tilly Ipswitch, Queen of Halloween, came flying home on her broomstick, carrying a book called What Every Space Traveller Ought to Know. She had bought it at the planetarium, where she had been studying the stars.'
And the illustrations are wonderful too. I love the characterisation of Tilly. She is just the right amount of witchy and scary and appealing.
The story follows Tilly Ipswitch who is of course a witch as she builds a contraption called the zoom broom and flies it into space. She is on the hunt for creatures to scare on Halloween. As you might expect, not everything quite goes to plan and Tilly Ipswitch ends up being the one who is scared.
What I like most about this book, apart from the illustrations are all the imaginative little details scattered around. For example, the mold for the zoom broom is made from a hollowed out dinosaur tooth. The zoom Broom is powered by jet-black magic.
Another detail I really liked was that Kit the cat is only willing to go into space in the zoom broom because he thinks that the milky way is going to be full of milk for him to drink. Of course it isn't and there is a lovely little sentence that says:
'But not a single drop of milk did they see in all that field of twinkling stars.'
I don't know how popular this book is. I certainly had never heard of it in England before but maybe it is more well known in America? I'd be interested to know! (It's by Don Freeman, the same author who wrote 'Corderoy.') Either way I love it!