Book Spotlight: Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

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Posted: January 5, 2019

Category: Staff Picks

A boy and a dog look excited in front of an intimidating human-like silhouette with antennas

Prez knows that lists are the best way to keep track of things. That’s especially true when you live with a Granddad who’s always forgetting things, like whether or not he has pants on. Before long, someone has taken Granddad away, and Prez has to spend the summer on a small farm with the Blythe’s, a boisterous foster family.

When the front doorbell rings one night, Prez answers the door and in strolls Sputnik, a small kid wearing goggles and a leather helmet, carrying a large pair of scissors and a yellow backpack. Prez finds this pretty weird for a few reasons. First, there is no front doorbell at the Blythe’s house. Second, Sputnik can hear what Prez is thinking (which is actually pretty useful when you don’t talk). Third, everyone else in the house thinks Sputnik is a dog.

Only Prez can see that Sputnik is a stranger with bad manners, a lot of swagger, and an odd ability to make ordinary household objects extraordinary—something he claims everyone could do, if they had bothered to read the manual.

Sputnik is an alien, and he’s here to save Earth. The Department of Planetary Clearance has marked the planet for destruction, and unless Prez and Sputnik can come up with a list of ten great things about Earth, it will be shrunk to the size of a golf ball by the end of the summer.

Prez is in for a chaotic summer as he scrambles to put together a list that will save Earth, while simultaneously trying to keep Sputnik’s shenanigans under control and find a way back to his Granddad.

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce is shelved upstairs in the juvenile fiction section of the children’s department.

If you like Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, you might also enjoy The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. Ellie’s grandfather discovers a way to reverse aging and turns back into a thirteen year old boy. The next thing Ellie knows, he’s sleeping in their living room, attending her school, and trying to persuade her to break into his old lab so he can continue his research. The Fourteenth Goldfish is also shelved upstairs in the children’s department.

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