George and the Ship of Time

S. & S. (George’s Secret Key). Jul. 2019. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534437302.
Gr 4-6–George and his robot have traveled to a future Earth devastated by war and climate change, led by Trellis Dump the Second. Dump emits an “orange light” and likes to make deals, a satirical nod that even young readers will understand quickly. This is a thoughtful, realized dystopia in which the majority of young “consumers” live in the Bubble, a sealed world fueled by technology that tells its residents that science is fake. Qualified children graduate from the Bubble to the acclaimed Wonder Academy: but is the Wonder Academy a school, or a prison? George must find out, traveling through barren deserts and rainfall-sodden swamps, encountering a childhood friend grown old, a leader who speaks solely in emojis, and new friends amid the growing rebellion. Full of twists and turns, heroes and supervillains, faithful robots and empowered kids, this is an accessible read with large text and one or two black-and-white illustrations accompanying each chapter. This is the last volume in a series, but it easily stands alone. Much of the dialogue and plot exist to wrap up storylines, but action, humor and provocative points about climate change, politics, artificial intelligence, and war will keep readers engaged. Fifty pages of factual back matter about these issues and more follow the story. The short articles manage to be both comprehensive and entertaining, but they do not include citations or bibliographies, an unfortunate omission considering the book’s emphasis on the importance of verified information.
VERDICT This kid-friendly dystopian satire’s gentle action, humor, and provocative questions about the future will engage readers familiar with and new to the series

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