Welcome to another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

Today I present the fourth book in my quest to provide support to past titles. I call it The Nurturing of Middle Grade Books.

My other favorites included CLUTCH, THE UNEXPECTED LIFE OF OLIVER CROMWELL PITTS, and THE SWEETEST SOUND. I hope you will give all of these a go, including today’s selection…


I wasn’t more than fifty pages into this unusual tale when the thought struck me: This would make a great movie…maybe an animated one. And to my surprise others already had the same thought. SPUTNIK’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH will be heading to the big screen thanks to DreamWorks.

Prez is the boy on the cover. He use to live with his grandad until the beloved caretaker started to have issues with his memory. Prez is sent to what is called THE TEMPORARY, where homeless children wait for a new family or hopefully some day return to their original one.

Summer arrives and Prez goes off to live with a foster family for a few months on their farm. He doesn’t talk but begins to fit in with the family. Then the doorbell rings— despite the fact they don’t have a doorbell. Prez answers and another boy stands there dressed in a leather helmet and kilt. His name is Sputnik. The rest of the family sees Sputnik as a dog (character two on the cover). The dog talks to Prez by somehow reading his thoughts. From there it goes from strange to weird and wild.

Sputnik is hilarious and hasn’t read the manual on how to be a dog. Let’s just say gravity isn’t always in reach. There’s an war old chest, juvenile delinquents, and a boy longing for his life with Grandpa. A great story to be shared with a message that will touch your heart. Write it down on a post-it note and then read the book full of its own post-it notes.


THE OFFICIAL STORY BLURB (From Harper Collins Children Books)

Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it’s even more important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik—a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: the Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.

Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made—and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.



  1. Every time you think you have the plot figured out it goes in another wacky and surprising direction. Life is not like this, but it sure would be fun.
  2. The grandfather’s map holds many answers and it was a marvelous way to bring the story to a climatic ending.
  3. Sputnik…Need I say more? Yes, he should have his own talk show.
  4. Imaginative and just the type of story I love reading out loud to the targeted audience.
  5. Earth is a pretty amazing place if we’d stop for a few minutes and notice.

FAVORITE LINES (from Sputnick):

“That’s something I love about this planet. Only one moon. No wonder you have the best gravity. We had a dozen moons where I used to live. Imagine that—a moon going past every half an hour. The tide was up and down like a frog on a frying pan.”


Frank Cottrell Boyce is the author of Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, The Astounding Broccoli Boy, Cosmic, Framed, and Millions, the last of which was a New York Times bestseller and was made into a movie by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. His books have won or been nominated for numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. Frank is also a screenwriter, having penned the scripts for a number of feature films as well as the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. He lives in Liverpool with his family.


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Well, this went right on the top of my TBR. Thanks for telling me about it. It sounds like a blast.

  2. This one certainly grabs my attention. It sounds clever and very entertaining. Made me think of Bob.
    Will look it up!

  3. thebookowl says:

    This sounds really good! Thanks for sharing. I hadn’t heard of it before.

  4. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This book sounds like a lot of fun! The characters sound great, and I love the quote! Thanks so much for the review!

  5. Pingback: The 2018 GOLDEN CUP AWARDS | Always in the Middle…

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