The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen
|The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: My press release says ET meets Stig of the Dump and that sums up this lovely story very well. Kofi meets a surviving prehistoric human on a roundabout - and only science can return him to his home.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: August 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
He wasn't an alien, I was sure of that. It was more like he'd walked in through an ancient door from the past... except he was here, in my bedroom and his misty forest was somewhere real on Planet Earth.
Twelve-year-old Kofi thought he was seeing things when he spied a tiny human on a roundabout near to his house. But he wasn't. Rorty Thrutch is as real as you or me. But how did Rorty come to be hiding out in the middle of a roundabout in Bradborough? And why is he so insistent that he'll soon be bad dead?
Rorty is indeed not an alien. He is a prehistoric human, a hominin, discovered on a remote island and kidnapped by a scientist who wants to use Rorty to make his reputation and his fortune. Because Rorty can do amazing things. He can copy, paste and delete objects or send an email or a text, just by using the power of his mind. You can imagine there are fortunes to be made by the unethical, right? But Rorty wants to go home and Kofi - together with his family and friends, resolve to help him.
My press release says ET meets Stig of the Dump and that sums up this lovely story very well. Sharon Cohen cites two news stories and an old memory as inspirations for The Starman and Me - the discovery of a tiny pre-human species on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003; young American tetraplegic Matthew Nagle, who became the first person to use a brain-computer interface to gain some personal independence in 2004; a strange stone hut on a roundabout Cohen drove round every day, there for no apparent reason. From these threads, she has woven the story of Kofi and Rorty and filled it with fabulous and inspiring information about science, the ways in which identities form us, and the importance of friendship and care for others. It's truly lovely.
It's a proper adventure story - there are evil villains to vanquish and vanquishing them isn't easy, and a plot that rushes along like a speeding train. But The Starman and Me isn't just an entertaining page-turner. Cohen fills the pages with science and tech too - readers will find out about the magic of DNA and the advances in intelligent technology. And it always, always, always, stresses the benefits of co-operation and solidarity. Teamwork rules in this story, as does the duty of care we owe to others. Adventure, information and emotional intelligence combine effectively and Cohen manages this without being either preachy or treacly.
This is a book for all curious middle graders. And it also comes heartily recommended by me, one of the oldies.
If The Starman and Me appeals, you might also enjoy The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce or Phoenix by SF Said.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.