by Cottrell Boyce, Frank

Liam Digby is so unusually tall that people think he should act like an adult, which leads him to compete against adults for a chance to go into space.

*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! Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Twelve-year-old Liam Digby is Completely Doomed. He's lost in outer space, incommunicado, in a Chinese spacecraft called Infinite Possibility. To further complicate matters, he's an imposter: a tall-for-his-age kid with premature facial hair pretending to be a dad so he could participate in the secret civilian space flight in the first place-a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style contest in which the winning children get to go on the ultimate thrill ride, an actual rocket. The good news is, the view is amazing: "When you're in it, space looks like the biggest firework display ever-except it's on pause.... Even if you're Completely Doomed, you've got to be impressed." On the heels of the Carnegie Medal-winning Millions (2004) and Framed (2006), Cottrell Boyce has created a riveting, affecting, sometimes snortingly funny "what-if" scenario that illuminates the realities of space travel as it thoughtfully examines the nature of adulthood. Liam's musings on what it takes to be a good, responsible father are dryly comical but also charmingly earnest. A high-levity zero-gravity romp. (Science fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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