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By David Walliams and illustrated by Adam Stower
Reviewed by Sarah Custance
David Walliams is the much acclaimed UK author of over 30 picture books and novels, including The Boy in the Dress, Gangsta Granny, Fing, and The World’s Worst Children series. Spaceboy is his newest middle-grade novel set in 1960’s America during the space race but adding a lot of Walliams’ signature humour to the story.
12-year-old Ruth is obsessed with stargazing and space. As an orphan living on an unsuccessful ostrich farm with her awful aunt who makes her do all of the hard and disgusting jobs, Ruth finds her only escape in looking through her telescope at night and dreaming of outer space. One day while stargazing, Ruth sees something extraordinary, an actual UFO crash landing on her aunt’s property! As she rushes down to the wreckage with her trusty three-legged dog Yuri, both girl and dog are equal parts shocked and excited to pull an alien, calling itself Spaceboy, out of the rubble.
Ruth is full of questions but with Spaceboy being injured, her aunt on the rampage with a gun, and a fleet of helicopters after them, questions will have to wait while the three odd companions try to escape. Even in her wildest fantasies Ruth never would have believed that she’d end up being chased by people in hazmat suits, bounce her way across the desert inside a giant ball, uncover a top secret Secret Base, meet the President, and see the world being told that hamsters are Earth’s most intelligent species and that the meaning of life is ‘don’t be a dork’!
Spaceboy is full of all the silliness and fun that has made Walliams a household name for his storytelling. With lots of jokes, fart noises, wonderfully ridiculous characters and plotlines, fans will feel right at home with this latest novel. There is also a large chunk of political satire that will most likely go over young readers heads but does feel very out of place in this 1960’s based book (unless US Presidents have the power to time-travel). The story is wonderfully illustrated by Adam Stower, whose drawings and comic panels bring these odd characters to life and help to give the story charm and make scenes all the more enjoyable with the characters bewildered expressions.
HarperCollins 2022
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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