Book Reviews

Review: Rocket Boy

I really enjoyed The Blue Beyond, the last book in Little Tiger’s full colour early reader series, and when I saw that Rocket Boy was a story about a boy, his cat, and the power of imagination, I leapt at the chance to review it!

Book: Rocket Boy by Katie Jennings, illustrated by Joe Lillington

Read before: No

Publication date: 6th August 2020

Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Little Tiger. All opinions my own.

As with previous books in this series, this is a standalone story that sits between picture book and chapter book, with a good amount of text and beautiful full page illustrations. The art style is different for each one, and Rocket Boy has one that really appeals to me – muted orange, blue, and black are the main standouts, and though I’m useless at describing art, there’s a really fun almost sketchy quality to the lines that makes each illustration feel full of action and immediacy. I particularly love the way Callum and Oscar’s expressions are drawn, as they’re very simple but very easy to read the emotions! 

This is a story all about the power of imagination, and it’s just so wholesome! Callum is a space-obsessed kid who tries to turn everything he does into a space-themed adventure. When a delivery arrives for his mum in an enormous cardboard box, he instantly sees what it could be: a rocket for a mission to Mars! Once the rocket is built, the book takes a break from boring real life like supermarket visits and walks, and instead hops into Callum’s imagination to show us what is really happening as he sets off to visit the Red Planet. There’s zero gravity shenanigans, a dangerous spacewalk, and a meeting with the Curiosity rover, and more – it’s very exciting and should delight any young fans of space and astronauts! I loved seeing how elements of Callum’s real life that we saw in the first part crept into the background of the second – broccoli trees, anyone? 

Oscar in particular is what drew me to this book – I’m just a sucker for anything with cats in! A lazy cat perhaps doesn’t seem like an obvious pick for a companion on an astronaut’s trip to Mars, but when he sneaks into Callum’s cardboard spaceship (what cat can resist a cardboard box?), he instantly becomes part of the adventure. I loved seeing their friendship – it’s really great to see boys in fiction showing kindness and loving their pets. I hope my boy and cat have many great imaginary adventures like this in future!

Rocket Boy is so heartwarming! It really captures the magic of imaginary adventures, and it has great real-life space elements woven in that should pique the interest of budding astronauts. It’s also beautiful to look at – an all-around great book for early readers. Five out of five space cats!

PS – this is my first post written on the new WordPress block editor, so please let me know if anything looks strange!

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