STARRED REVIEW
July 2017

An Earth worth saving

By Frank Cottrell Boyce
Review by

Toys. Books. Friends. Television. Fidget spinners. If you had to make a list of 10 amazing things about Earth in order to keep it from being destroyed, what would you pick? In Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions), this is exactly the situation Prez finds himself in after Sputnik, a strange little boy (or is he a dog?), rings the doorbell that isn’t there and invites himself into Prez’s world.

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BookPage Children’s Top Pick, July 2017

Toys. Books. Friends. Television. Fidget spinners. If you had to make a list of 10 amazing things about Earth in order to keep it from being destroyed, what would you pick? In Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions), this is exactly the situation Prez finds himself in after Sputnik, a strange little boy (or is he a dog?), rings the doorbell that isn’t there and invites himself into Prez’s world.

After his granddad gets into “a wee spot of bother,” Prez is taken to Children’s Temporary Accommodation (an orphanage) and then placed with the Blythe family on their farm. As talkative as Prez is silent, the Blythe family provides a good, if not peaceful, place for Prez to live. But everything is turned upside down when Sputnik enters their lives. Sputnik appears as a dog to everyone but Prez, and he telepathically “tells” Prez that he is an alien from another planet and is on Earth to keep it from being destroyed. Most importantly, he needs Prez’s help to go out into the world and discover the 10 things that will stop the destruction. Thus begins Prez’s most eventful summer ever.

Wrapped in humor and absurdity, Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth deftly examines a number of issues, including dementia, foster care and how to see the beauty in common, everyday things. While not a simple, straightforward book, readers who take the time to explore Earth with Prez, Sputnik and Granddad will be rewarded with joy, laughter and the knowledge that it might actually be possible to find your own place in the universe.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

By Frank Cottrell Boyce
Walden Pond
ISBN 9780062643629

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