*Starred Review* Liam is a big lad. So big that strangers mistake the 12-year-old for an adult. Even his teachers seem to conflate tall with old. So heaven forbid he should ever make a mistake. Then it’s all, “You should know better, big lad like you.” Life sure is hard for poor, burdened Liam (did I mention the Premature Facial Hair?)—until, that is, he decides to enter the Greatest Dad Ever Contest and in short order finds himself on a rocket ship that is off course and 200,000 miles above the earth. Yes, quite a few things—some of them cosmic and all of them extremely funny—do happen in between. Boyce is a Carnegie Medal–winning author, after all (for Millions, 2004), and he knows how to tell a compellingly good story. But in his latest extravagantly imaginative and marvelously good-natured novel he has also written one that is bound to win readers’ hearts, if not a clutch of big prizes—though Cosmic was shortlisted for both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize when it was published in England. There are lots of surprises in Liam’s story, and without spoiling any of them by saying more, just know that this is not only a story about big lads, but also about dads and dadliness! Grades 4-7. --Michael Cart
If you look anywhere on the internet or talk to anyone who has read this novel they will probably tell you how much they love this book. They will tell how great the storyline was and how fun of a read. Would I disagree? No, I would not, but I don't think I will be placing it on my Cybil Shortlist either.
As I take on the role of a judge for the Cybils I find myself reading in a new way. I am reading and really paying attention to all the details of the story. I think abut the average reader. I believe that this story would be a huge read in my middle school. Actually, I am not sure why I have not seen more students reading this one yet? Middle grade students will love this story. A kid who pulls off being an adult to fly in a rocket? How fun would that be. I read the story in a few days and rather enjoyed entering this "Cosmic" world. I did not feel any connection to it and that is why I will not be placing it on my shortlist. Does that mean that I would not give this book a 5/5 star rating? Heck no, this book is great. If I had a chance to do book talks to my students this book would be up there on my list. Knowing that I have read some others and a predicting that many more will be just as good it is a hard decision.
One element that I really did appreciate was the whole "dad" element that was presented in the story. Being a dad myself I had to stop and think that I keep my kid spirit with my children and not always be a "dad" with making rules, keeping track of this and that, etc. It is easy to be caught up in the actions of a regular day to find yourself laying in bed wondering why you did not take time to play with your kids.
I am very interested in reading the other stories by Frank Cottrell Boyce as I think he is an amazing author. The story would appeal to both boys and girls. The story reads fast and contains everything a great story should.
Go check this book out if you have not already read this one. It is well worth the time to read.