• NZ Booklovers

Earth’s Acrobats by Stu Sleen


Earth’s Acrobats is the new debut novel from Auckland-based author, Stu Sleen, and takes the reader on a journey into the fantastical and highly amusing world of Neeble Nobber Land. As Book one of the series, there is no doubt that this is going to become a favourite on bookshelves in homes and in school libraries.


But, things are not all well in the world of the Neeble Nobbers, who are ‘a little different to other planet dwellers’ with their antennae and large wheel appendage in place of human legs, as there have been a couple of suspicious events taking place and some finger pointing at some of the members of the Earth circus team.


Could this have bigger implications for the Earth acrobatic team? What will it take to clear the name of Billy the Clown? What about these crazy oil price hikes?


Readers are really going to love the whole raft of intriguing aspects of Neeble Nobber Land and its inhabitants that we get to learn along the way.


Sleen’s writing is based on the stories he shared with his children when they were young, and have been captured, expanded and documented in this new novel based around the premise that other families can take the ideas and spend that quality time together. It’s a noble thought, and one that carries a lot of merit, but also a daunting one. Yet, Sleen delivers with gusto as both young and adults will find something of great value here, be it the great storytelling, or the humour that is multi-levelled to keep the parents chuckling along with their children.


The illustrations, from Katie Glasgow-Palmer, match the story wonderfully well. With such out there concepts as the Neeble Nobbers themselves, and this strange other-ness to their world, it is very helpful to have the drawings to really engage the reader and immerse oneself in this magical environment. Our household couldn’t get enough of the drawings and kept going back to have a little laugh at times, and then to remind themselves of the look of the characters.


Overall, the development of the world itself has been done so vividly, from the helpful descriptions at the start of the key elements of this strange new world, to the creation of scenarios and sequences that draw you into the narrative as it skips along at pace. There isn’t a dull moment in Earth’s Acrobats and, as a short read, is completely accessible to share with young children over the course of a couple of evenings - if they’ll let you stop that is!


The book is a wonderful addition to any home reading and has already been proven to hit the mark with families here and overseas. It’s a joy to read and highly recommended!


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Bean Sprout Press