Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
|Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
|Summary: Cosmic is a truly magical book about the magic of parents and comes highly recommended for all ages.
|Date: June 2008
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Liam Digby is very tall. He's too big to be a little boy, but too young to be a grown-up. Being tall has its perks – Liam can get into the off-licence, which is Strickly no unaccumpanid children ender eny circumstances, and he can go on all the best rides at the fun fair. But it also has its downsides. People forget that he is only twelve, they expect him to act like a responsible adult.
Then Liam wins a competition to go to Infinity Park, a top secret, brand new theme park. The only problem is, it's a prize for father and child, and Liam's fairly sure his Dad won't want to go, especially after Liam spent several hours on the phone, against his Dad's instructions, to enter it.
But Liam thinks he can work being tall to his advantage, and enlists his celebrity obsessed friend Florida Kirby to be his daughter so they can visit Infinity Park together. Their parents think they are in the Lake District on a school trip, but really they are on a red Learjet (as flown by John Travolta) heading to China.
The Infinity Park is more than Liam ever imagined. The rides are designed to train people for the rigours of space flight, and the main attraction is an actual rocket ride that takes passengers for an orbit round the moon. The five lucky winners are going to be the first children to ride Infinite Possibility Rocket, but all but one of the fathers are staying on the ground. While Liam competes for his place on the Rocket, he learns much about what it means to be a Dad.
Frank Cottrell Boyce has a knack for taking fairly ridiculous situations and turning them into touching commentaries on the most important relationships. The concept of sending kids into space on a top secret mission is a pretty unbelievable one, but from the opening pages it really doesn't matter, because Cottrell Boyce's writing is simply magic.
Much in the vein of Millions, Cottrell Boyce's first novel, Cosmic features a running theme throughout the book. In Millions it was Saints, in Cosmic it is World of Warcraft. Liam often talks about the game to explain his motivations and logic. I think it's a wonderful mechanism to get an insight into his mind. A slightly awkward boy, and socially somewhat stilted, Liam's application of gaming logic to real life situations is totally believable.
A particularly sublime touch is how Liam approaches learning to be a Dad through a system of levels. Much like his character levels up on World of Warcraft, Liam tries to gain levels in Dad skills. After listening to his Dad talking, and learning the pattern of his conversations (1. How we got there, 2. What the parking was like, 3. What it was like in the old days, 4. Something to make you think, 5. Something about last night's football), Liam believes he has mastered Level One of Being a Dad. Level Two involves persuading Florida to be his daughter, and so on.
Filled with such observations on parents, how their relationships with their children affect their children's lives, and how Liam pretending to be Florida's father affects their relationship, Cosmic is a truly magical book about the magic of parents and comes highly recommended for all ages.
My thanks to the publisher for sending a copy.
For another great book that appeals to a wide age range, try Holes by Louis Sachar.
You can read more book reviews or buy Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce at Amazon.com.
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