COTTRELL BOYCE, Frank. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. 336p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062643629.
Gr 4-7 –Prez Mellows is a list expert. He’s been making lists for years on sticky notes to help his granddad remember important life facts, such as “Prez is your grandson” and “Do not go out without trousers.” His lists help save the planet when a space-traveling alien, Sputnik, shows up on Earth and enlists Prez’s help to come up with 10 reasons Earth should be spared; otherwise, it will be shrunk to oblivion. To Prez, Sputnik looks like a boy wearing a kilt, a leather helmet, and flying goggles, but to everyone else, he looks like a dog. Selectively mute, Prez is trying to come to grips with being in a “temporary” foster home with a raucous family, while mistakenly thinking his granddad was taken away to prison rather than a nursing home. Cottrell Boyce (Millions; The Astounding Broccoli Boy) invites readers to suspend belief while going on a physics-defying, mind-bending adventure that’s sure to appeal to a wide audience. When a motorized scooter becomes a getaway vehicle, Prez and Sputnik try to help Granddad retrieve lost memories, establish reasons why Earth should be saved, and, along the way, discover where they really belong and what is most important. VERDICT Begging to be read aloud and full of escapades, humor, and spunk, this is a stand-alone gem. For all middle grade shelves.
This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2017 issue.