What’s not to like? Everything Steve Cole touches turns to slime, or ends up in a farmyard somewhere or in deepest space. Little boys love him. I don’t want to be sexist, but it really is little boys. And they need someone like Steve, and they need his books. They might provide the difference between becoming a reader for life, or not.
The ‘or not’ isn’t a good option, so here’s to slime and the CIA!
I have long given up any expectations to read all Steve’s books. I have – in fact – given up all hope of even keeping track of what he publishes. There’s too many books. It’s not as if he starts a new series of books and stops writing an old series about something else. He just goes on. And on.
Before meeting Steve in Edinburgh, I caught up with some of what he’s been writing. I last left at the beginning of the CIA, Cows in Action. It looks like he’s written about half a dozen of them by now. Correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t need books like Cows in Action, but they are quite fun to read. Time travelling cows and evil bulls and corny titles. You simply must like. The Moo-my’s Curse. The Pirate Moo-tiny. I mean, can’t you just see Steve sitting there coming up with one title worse than the last one?
I never got round to reading Astrosaurs before, and to tell the truth, I hadn’t realised they are different from Astrosaurs Academy. Which I suppose can best be described as a school for dinosaurs. They become Astrosaurs if they make it through. I enjoyed meeting the young cadet Teggs Stegosaur and his pals, and seeing how clever and brave they could be when finding not everyone is totally above board. It’s mad, but that’s what we like. It’s space. It’s dinosaurs. Everything good all at once.
That brings us neatly to the slime. Or not so neat, perhaps. It is slime, after all. I struggled with perspective on this one. I think everything and everybody is so incredibly minute that you can’t even begin to work out how small a hero can be and still be a hero.
As for names, don’t you just love Plog and Furp? It’s sort of ecological, with the action taking place in rubbish. But you still have good monsters and bad monsters, and bad monsters need to be got rid of. So you have some super-monsters who rescue the world from the bad guys. And what more wonderful situation than to find yourself side by side with your heroes, fighting bad monsters and ending up one of the gang?
Even if your feet smell.
I might not be talking directly to prospective slime readers here, since I happen to know that most of you aren’t boys under the age of ten. But maybe next time you need to buy a book for someone like that? I gather there is a real risk the recipient could end up worshipping at the Cole altar.
You could do worse.
That’s setting aside the absolutely must-have collector’s cards at the front of every book. Even my dormant collector’s fingers start twitching at the sight of them. No, I don’t need pictures of slimy space cows. Really.
(And Steve, I expect some gratitude for not publishing that photo of the eyebrows again.)