Book Title: Rocket Boy (available here)
Author: Katie Jennings
Illustrator: Joe Lillington
Publisher: Little Tiger
Publication Date: August 2020
Most Suitable For: Years 1-3
Reviewed By: Caroline Wood
Rocket Boy is absolutely lovely - capturing the flight of a child’s imagination perfectly. Callum just needs a big box, his cat Oscar and all the things he can “borrow” from the kitchen to create a rocket ship to Mars, and off he goes! The illustrations are wonderful, warm and friendly, but with enough detail to interest the most space-obsessed child; Callum gets to see a Martian sunset and even a Mars Rover that looks distinctly like Curiosity and Perseverance (pair with the non-fiction Curiosity by Markus Motum for a class or home-study topic). Callum and Oscar remind me very much of Calvin and Hobbes, capturing the innocence and inventiveness of six-year-olds perfectly. I love the way Jennings transforms the mundane – a trip to the supermarket for broccoli and the delivery of a desk in a big box – into a rocket ship and a menacing jungle on Mars.
I will be recommending this to my keen readers in Y1 and Y2, and for children who want a light read in Y3; this series of illustrated hardbacks from Little Tiger is a really wonderful way to bridge the gap from big floppy picture books to “grown up” novel-sized chapter books. The stories are detailed enough to get your teeth into, but not so long and convoluted that children lose interest, and the illustrations anchor everything beautifully. Rocket Boy would be a great addition to a class library, especially where space is on the curriculum. It will also work well as a shared-focus novel, with an adult reading to the child (or vice-versa). Also, those endpapers are simply gorgeous.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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