Book Title: Future Friend (available here)
Author: David Baddiel
Illustrator: Stephen Lenton
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 2020
Most Suitable For: KS2
Reviewer: Jane Evans
Pip@256X#YY.3_7 lives with her parents, their pets and their roboclone, in Houseunit 72. The year is 3020. Pip dreams of playing football but has never been outside due to the severe flooding, heat and threat from viruses. Even Pip’s schooling takes place online. Her parents are trying to invent solutions to make the world a healthier place, but Pip is never allowed in their lab to see what they are working on. Then one day, a loud bang come from the lab, followed by a huge cloud of black smoke…
Rahul (based on the character of the amazing inventor Rahul Agarwal, featured in The Taylor Turbochaser) misses his friend Amy and has lost his self-belief as an inventor and along with it, any sense of happiness in his life. His greatest invention in recent times is his “Bean pants” but he is so dispirited he hasn’t even got as far as making a prototype. Suddenly he hears a strange whooshing sound coming from a corner of his parents’ warehouse…
Written in 2019, Baddiel and his publishers had the sense to alter the “present day” from 2020 to 2019 when it became apparent that some of Baddiel’s predictions for 3020 were becoming a bit of a reality in the real 2020. Baddiel sensitively explores what it feels like to feel lonely, as well as touching on the fear experienced when a group of people form a prejudice against someone just because they perceive them as being different.
Lenton’s fantastic illustrations yet again capture each stage of the story perfectly and Baddiel’s mixture of humour and storytelling lend themselves perfectly to open discussions such as “If you had a visitor from a different time, what would you want to show them about our time?” or “What do you think the future might look like 1000 years from now and why?” Great as a light-hearted class read and sure to be enjoyed individually by those more able LKS2 readers as well as in UKS2 too, appealing to both girls and boys alike.
In the words of my 7yr old “This is an amazing book that you never want to put down.” You can’t say fairer than that!
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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