Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

Frank Cottrell Boyce. Walden Pond, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-264362-9
Prez Mellows lives with his increasingly forgetful grandfather until an incident that results in Granddad being sent away to be “sorted out.” Prez, electively mute, is taken in by the Blythes, a raucous farm family on Scotland’s southern border. Though the premise sounds grim, Boyce’s (The Astounding Broccoli Boy) story is anything but, and it’s kick-started by the arrival of Sputnik, a being visible to Prez as a “wee alien in a kilt and goggles,” and to everyone else as an adorable and exceedingly clever dog. Sputnik’s mission is to save Earth from impending doom by finding 10 worthy things about the planet to update a guidebook, originally written by Laika, the Russian space dog. His advanced knowledge of scientific principles combines with a penchant for mischief to produce an avalanche of kooky mayhem (working lightsabers are involved). It’s a funny and touching story about a boy who, through a transformative summer, learns to expand his definitions of family and home. “Home’s not a building,” as Sputnik tells Prez. “Home is other people, isn’t it?” Ages 8–12. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-264364-3
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-230-77137-6
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