On My Bookshelf: Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

May 28, 2018

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce alternates between the present action, Liam lost in outer space with four other children, and the past events leading up to his adventure gone wrong. Liam is frequently mistaken for an adult, which has its benefits, but when he wins a trip to ride an exciting new thrill ride, which turns out to be a trip into outer space, he may have finally let things go a little too far. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Liam has always felt a bit like he's stuck between two worlds. This is primarily because he's a twelve-year-old kid who looks like he's about thirty. Sometimes it's not so bad, like when his new principal mistakes him for a teacher on the first day of school or when he convinces a car dealer to let him take a Porsche out on a test drive. But mostly it's just frustrating, being a kid trapped in an adult world. And so he decides to flip things around. Liam cons his way onto the first spaceship to take civilians into space, a special flight for a group of kids and an adult chaperone, and he is going as the adult chaperone. It's not long before Liam, along with his friends, is stuck between two worlds again—only this time he's 239,000 miles from home.

Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of Millions and Framed, brings us a funny and touching story of the many ways in which grown-upness is truly wasted on grown-ups.
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce alternates between the present action, Liam lost in outer space with four other children, and the past events leading up to his adventure gone wrong. Liam is frequently mistaken for an adult, which has its benefits, but when he wins a trip to ride an exciting new thrill ride, which turns out to be a trip into outer space, he may have finally let things go a little too far. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.


Why I liked it: Cosmic alternates between the present action, Liam lost in outer space with four other children, and the past events leading up to his adventure gone wrong. Liam is frequently mistaken for an adult, which has its benefits, like the time he almost test drove a fancy sports car or repeatedly rode an intense amusement park ride without needing parental consent, but when he wins a trip to ride an exciting new thrill ride, which turns out to be a trip into outer space, he may have finally let things go a little too far. As the supervising "adult" it is up to Liam to get the other children to work together so they can safely return to Earth. Despite the dangerous situation he is in, Liam is able to remain remarkably calm and even crack jokes. 

Classroom application: I'm always on the hunt for funny books and ones that will appeal to my male students. Cosmic fits the bill for both. It's a great middle school read and would likely appeal to less mature high school students as well (and we all know how mature high school boys are). There's no mature content to be concerned about.

Though entirely fictional, Cosmic would also be a good recommendation for students interested in space. The book does make reference to real events and people in the history of space exploration.

The book would also be an interesting pairing with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The plot has similar elements (four winners of a misleading prize, a quirky prize master,  four unusual children and their parents). Students could compare the social commentary of the authors based on the characters and whether or not issues have changed from the publication of one book to the other.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Cosmic for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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