Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth
The Blythes live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word. Then one day Prez answers the door to a small, loud stranger carrying a backpack who goes by the name of Sputnik. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and it seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to find them.
Wonderfully witty and wise this has the author's trademark perfect blend of humour and pathos with realistic human characters existing within a tightly plotted, fantastically inventive and original adventure. There is a very satisfying complexity of ideas which make the reader think as well as laugh. This writer is particularly skilled at using fantasy to say something about the world we live in and how we relate to each other and it is the relationships which really matter. That between Prez and his grandfather with dementia is particularly well drawn and the ending of this uplifting story is both touching and credible.
Frank Cottrell Boyce is the author of Millions, Framed, Cosmic, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sequels. He is also a successful writer of screen-plays and, along with director Danny Boyle, devised the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. He lives in Merseyside with his family.