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The class book review: The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet

Our reviewers loved Martin Howard's wacky and wonderful adventure book and would recommend it to all readers – even adults

The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet, Book Review

Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet

Author: Martin Howard

Illustrator: Chris Mould

Publisher: OUP Oxford

Details: £6.99, 336pp, paperback

ISBN: 978-0192767509

Alfie wants to treat his overworked mother to the latest luxury foot spa – The Sole Sensation 6000. The only problem is that it costs £149.99, which Alfie doesn’t have. He plays on the stock market at his local library, but still finds himself £49.99 short. Imagine his delight when he finds a job paying exactly £49.99 for one day’s work! And so the adventure begins...

Travelling through the stone circles with the cosmic atlas in hand, Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvement takes Alfie on a hilarious, crazy out of this world trip through the Brains-in-Jars world and on to Outlandish. When Alfie accidentally destroys the stone circle on Outlandish, their journey home becomes one huge adventure. Even though they are threatened with being sacrificed by the children of Skingrath, hunted by an elven prince and tasked with fighting the dragon, Alfie’s quick thinking manages to keep them out of danger.

Martin Howard’s completely bonkers fantasy world, with its endearing characters, is bound to delight KS2 readers who love funny or fantasy books. Despite the humorous nature of this book, I was completely drawn into Alfie’s emotional journey, empathising with his desire to return home to is mother and willing him to succeed. The layout of the book is well thought out to include plenty of illustrations as well as the notes Alfie makes during his travels – which I think will really appeal to children.

Angela Kent is the Librarian at Four Lanes Junior School

Pupil reviews: 'This book is bonkers'

The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet is a hilarious book. Alfie explores Outlandish with Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvement and meets more characters with funny names such as Sir Brenda (the knight) and Gerald Teethcrusher. I would also have liked to have seen more jokes like the classified ads, as they were fantastically funny. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humour. This book is perfect for adults and children aged 7+.

Edward, aged 9

This is a book about finding your way home. It proves that in tough situations, you can do it. Be warned: this book is bonkers and is not at all sensible – it is loaded with humour and funny action scenes. I would recommend this book to anyone 7+ who loves crazy adventures, as it is not too difficult to read but would even be enjoyable for adults.

Samuel, aged 11

This book is full of action and adventure. Alfie meets the super crazy professor and travels to another world (Outlandish) where he gets stuck and tries to escape. He makes loads of unusual friends, writes reports about Outlandish and tries to steal gold from the dragon’s lair. My favourite part was when they were in the dragon’s lair, as it was action packed and they had to defeat the dragon. A must-read book for children aged 8-14.

Edward, aged 10

The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet is completely weird and wacky but really funny. The story is about a boy and his mum who are very poor. Alfie wants to get his mum a Sole Sensation 6000, so he gets a job and meets the professor. Together, they go through a portal to Outlandish and when the stone circle is broken they have to go on a quest to find another circle. On the way they meet an elf, a knight and a child of the god Skingrath. My favourite part was when they had to defeat the dragon and Alfie makes the dragon explode using his translation gramophone. There were blood and guts everywhere – it was "disgustang"! I would recommend this book to children 10+ and anyone else who likes the wacky and weird.

Ashton, aged 11

This book made me laugh throughout, with the strange names such as Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvement as well as the weird situations like a translation device blowing up in a dragon’s mouth.

Alfie meets Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvement and travels to a different universe. Using a stone circle, they go through Brains in Jars world and end in a place called Outlandish, where he meets a girl called…Derek. The original circle gets broken so they must find a different circle. Luckily they find a map that suggests there is a stone circle in the dragon’s cave and meet ‘Sir’ Brenda who loves a quest. 

Silly is the definition of this book, so I would recommend this story to anyone who likes silly things.

Aiden, aged 11

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