Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Illustrated by Steve Lenton

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Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award

April 2016 Book of the Month With all the invention, originality and insight that is typical of his writing for children, Frank Cottrell Boyce takes the sad story of Laika, the first living creature to orbit Earth, and uses it as inspiration for a story about the importance of home. As ever, it’s both brilliantly funny and extraordinarily moving. Prez is living with a temporary foster family when he opens the door to Sputnik. Prez sees an alien – in a kilt – everyone else sees a dog. Over the course of the summer Prez and Sputnik have some amazing adventures and break a lot of laws, including some of the laws of physics, but in the process they save the world, and reunite Prez with his grandfather. As wild as a cartoon strip, this wonderful story pinpoints all the best things about life on Earth.

No-one writes like Frank Cottrell Boyce, and readers who enjoy this will also love his books Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy. Jamie Thomson’s Dark Lord books are also very funny, and just as good on human nature as is My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons. ~ Andrea Reece


Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce, with illustrations by Steven Lenton, will send your imagination into orbit!

The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word. Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik. As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It's only Prez who thinks otherwise. But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life - like a TV remote that fast-forwards people: 'Anyone can do it, it's just that people don't read the instructions properly'; and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children's party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it - and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself. It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever ...

Following the immense success of 2015’s The Astounding Broccoli Boy, comes a new standalone from multi-award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth is an out-of-this-world adventure about family, friendship and learning to appreciate everything that you have.


Praise for The Astounding Broccoli Boy:

“an action-filled romp from an all-star author” The Metro

“No one does this sort of thing better than Frank Cottrell Boyce.” Guardian

“A new novel from Frank Cottrell Boyce is always an excitement and here he melds humour and insight in a perfectly observed, hilarious story.” The Scotsman

About the Author

Frank Cottrell Boyce

Frank Cottrell Boyce - Author of the Month, April 2016.

Frank Cottrell Boyce is an accomplished, successful and award-winning author and screenwriter. His books have been shortlisted for a multitude of prizes, including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Whitbread Children's Fiction Award (now the Costa Book Award) and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and Millions, his debut children's novel, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2004.

Millions was was later turned into a film by Danny Boyle and it features in the Book Trust’s 100 Best Books List for 9-11 year olds.

Frank is also a successful writer of film scripts and was the official scriptwriter for the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics, playing an important role devising the ceremony with Danny Boyle. He is also a judge for the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition. You can read a great interview with Frank and one of his fellow judge, Francesca Simon here!

He has also created a fantastic trilogy, written with his trademark wit, warmth and sense of story, based upon Ian Fleming's novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, comprising Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon.

His novel The Unforgotten Coat won the 2012 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

On winning the prize Frank Cottrell Boyce said: “It would be amazing to win this award with any book I'd written but it is a special joy to win it with The Unforgotten Coat, which started life not as a published book at all, but as a gift. Walker gave away thousands of copies in Liverpool - on buses, at ferry terminals, through schools, prisons and hospitals - to help promote the mighty Reader Organisation. We even had the book launch on a train. The photographs in the book, were created by my friends and neighbours - Carl Hunter and Claire Heaney. The story was based on a real incident in a school in Bootle. So everything about it comes from very close to home - even though it's a story about Xanadu!

“Being shortlisted for the Guardian Prize gives you a particularly warm glow because it is awarded by a panel of your fellow authors. Past winners include my childhood heroes - Alan Garner, Leon Garfield, Joan Aiken - and contemporary heroes like Mark Haddon, Geraldine McCaughrean and Meg Rosoff.”

He lives with his family in Liverpool.

You can find out a bit more about him and his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang triology at uk.chittyfliesagain.com

And see the video below for some top tips for writing your own story, taken from the BBC Radio 2 500 Words web page.

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Book Info


352 pages
Interest Age: From 9


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Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Publication date

7th April 2016




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