Frank Cottrell Boyce is one of my favourite authors. I fell in love with his writing when I first read his debut novel, Millions. Every new book of his promises a fresh, entertaining and exciting story that I know I will love. Frank’s previous book The Astounding Broccoli Boy is one of my favourites of his. Frank’s new book, Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, is an out-of-this-world read that I absolutely loved.
When his grandfather becomes ill Prez goes to stay with a foster family. The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Although he seems cheerful and helpful, Prez never says a word. Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik. Sputnik bursts into their lives and sets out to help Prez and try to save Earth.
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth is a funny, feel-good story that will make you wish you had a Sputnik of your very own. Sputnik’s unique point of view will make you look at the world around you in a new way and get you thinking about the things that aliens might find fascinating about Earth. Frank Cottrell Boyce will make you think but also make you laugh out loud while reading this book.
Sputnik bursts into Prez’s life right when he needs a friend, even one who is going to cause a whole heap of trouble. While everyone else sees Sputnik as a dog Prez sees him as a wee fellow about the same age and height as him, dressed in a ‘slightly-too-big jumper, kilt, leather helmet like the ones pilots wear in war movies, with massive goggles.’ As Prez doesn’t talk he communicates telepathically with Sputnik, therefore no one sees Prez talking to a dog. Sputnik tells Prez that he is the point of his mission and that they have to find 10 things that are amazing about Earth. Earth, says Sputnik, is due for shrinking, and that they need to find 10 things that would make Earth worth saving. Prez and Sputnik set out to find these 10 things and write Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. Along the way Prez finds his place in the world and finds his way into our hearts.
Sputnik gets Prez into some hilarious situations in the story. Sputnik is always trying to fix things and make them better, from a toy lightsaber and a remote control to a chairlift and a mobility scooter. I loved Sputnik’s new and improved versions and they will have kids laughing out loud. I especially loved the lightsaber incident.
Not only is Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth a fantastic story, it is also the perfect book to put into the hands of kids whose grandparents have dementia. Frank Cottrell Boyce perfectly captures the heartbreak of a kid whose grandparent is getting more and more forgetful. Prez does all he can to help his grandad remember things and tries to break him out of ‘prison.’
Grab a copy of Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth and discover the marvels of Earth with your new best friend, Sputnik.