Christopher Edge has been on my radar since I heard about The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. What’s more, I’m a bit of a science and maths geek, so when I saw this book at the local library I couldn’t resist picking it up.
Jamie Drake’s dad is an astronaut orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station. Surely this is every child’s dream, but Jamie doesn’t see the hype – he just misses his dad. Things take a strange turn as he visits an old observatory and accidentally picks up a strange signal on his phone. From here, Jamie and his dad’s stories begin to draw closer until the surprising finale.
My instant reaction is that this book does for middle grade fiction what the Big Bang Theory does for sitcoms – it brings science to life. In fact, the book is bursting with scientific and mathematical concepts. Even the title of the book brought a smile to my face with it play on an existing scientific concept. Now some of the concepts introduced are quite complex, but Edge’s narrative presents these in an easy to understand manner. As such, I can see children being enthralled by concepts such as the Fibonacci Sequence and Drake’s Equation.
The book isn’t just about science though. At it’s heart is a story about family dynamics. Indeed the book begins with Jamie’s own formula for a stable family. Edge presents Jamie’s conflicting emotions with great effect and at times the plot will tug at heart strings or force a wry smile. Couple this with the the scientific background, alien encounters and a down-to-earth lead character and you can see why this book is a winner.
I devoured this book over a couple of sittings – I just couldn’t put it down. As a teacher, the scope for using this book are huge. More importantly, this is a book that will engage children on many levels.
Age Recommendation: 8-12
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Nosy Crow