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Yasmin, Chobham Academy Book Group

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

It is obvious that this book is designed for a much younger audience, the main characters are portrayed in a way which I disliked, but younger children would enjoy this particular read.
The reason I did not like this book I because I could not understand the point of the storyline, as the idea of a world ending novel, written for younger children did not piece together. I think that the pairing of the two genres was not a very successful idea.
This book is an expectation to the rule: “don’t judge a book by its cover”, as soon as I saw the youngish boy, with a dog in an astronaut space suit, I immediately knew it would be a novel aimed at a younger audience. Also, there are many illustrations re a sign that the book is for children, as well as the bigger font. I understand that children of about 8-11 would like this read, but I find it fairly difficult to enjoy a book that talks about flying shed and make-up that makes you invisible. Therefore, I could see the mutual humour, but failed to find it very funny. As I gradually read through the book, I tried to obtain an open mind set, in doing so, I realised that this book could be a good book to relate to for some children in foster homes.
The title got me thinking before I read it, I was aware that Sputnik was a Russian satellite, yet I had no idea how it was going to relate to a dog. Laika- the first dog in space- was mentioned, linking the dog aspect of the book.
Despite my criticisms, I did have parts of the book that I enjoyed: when the youngest character Annabel got hold of a “real lightsabre”, or when Sputnik mentioned Laika stating that dogs were the more dominant specie.
Additionally, to writing a funny book, the author has managed to tie in the difficult theme of dealing with a grandparent with dementia, cleverly, Frank Cottrell Boyce has managed to delve deep into the life of a young carer with a space dog/alien.
Compared with the other books, I do not this that this book is a worthy winner of the Carnegie medal, as it cannot compare with the other books (which are more deep and meaningful, as they are aimed at an older age group).

Posted on: 18th May 2017 at 04:28 pm

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