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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, meaningful story!
Ever since he was a little kid, Liam wasn't little. By the time he turns twelve, he's way taller than his dad, let alone his classmates. He has to shave. Everyone mistakes him for an adult--and he hates it. Until...he's the only kid allowed to ride the new super ride at the amusement park...and adults treat him with respect...and he (almost) gets away with test-driving a...
Published on March 14, 2010 by The Children's Book Reporter

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was hoping for
I really wanted this book to be about adventures in space. Maybe set way in the future. Actually it mostly turned out to be the story of how a regular kid ended up in space. Granted it was interesting and heart warming, but it just wasn't what I was hoping for.
Published on February 14, 2013 by TeacherReader


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, meaningful story!, March 14, 2010
This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
Ever since he was a little kid, Liam wasn't little. By the time he turns twelve, he's way taller than his dad, let alone his classmates. He has to shave. Everyone mistakes him for an adult--and he hates it. Until...he's the only kid allowed to ride the new super ride at the amusement park...and adults treat him with respect...and he (almost) gets away with test-driving a Porsche. And he somehow cons his way into being the "parent chaperone" to the first four kids in space. Which is absolutely cosmic, as he would say--until the kids start acting like typical kids and break the ship. What they need is a dad to come rescue them--but Liam is the only dad they've got.
You come across a few books in your lifetime that really surprise you. You come across a few that make you laugh until you're crying. You come across a few that have such profound depth and meaning that when you finish them they settle into your gut so you'll always remember the way you felt reading them. You hardly ever come across one that embodies all these qualities; Cosmic is such a book. I finished it a week ago and held off writing the review so I didn't just gush meaninglessly (I did that to my family and friends). Now that I've stopped raving, here are my more organized thoughts:
To start with the negative (note the use of the singular), the structure was confusing. Liam begins telling his story to his parents from space, through recording himself on his phone--which makes for a very cool opening. But once we get to the point in the story where he began telling it, there is a disconnect. The time and circumstances have to be reestablished a few times, which can be disorienting. Unfortunately, it felt that a story which could more simply have been told in past tense after it was all over, began in the middle for the sake of a killer opening paragraph.
That said--deal with the confusion. Seriously. Because... we're on to the positives: brilliant voice, wonderful humor, the coolest tribute to Roald Dahl ever. (You'll have to figure it out yourselves.) If you like Science fiction, you'll be impressed by the author's attention to research and detail; if you don't, you'll still love Cosmic for the characters, the story, the subtlety with which a very important message is conveyed.
Ok, I'm going to go gush to my family some more now.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic!, November 13, 2012
By 
Fred (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cosmic (Paperback)
I can not speak highly enough of Cosmic. I do a lot of reading and it's been a long time since I've enjoyed a book this much. (I read "grown-up" stuff as well as kids' stuff, because we have kids.) I won't bother with a plot summary here, because several other people already have, plus it's in the Product Description. Suffice to say that the plot was intriguing, fun, and had plenty of surprises. What I WILL say is that the writing itself is some of the best I've ever read; it's clever, funny and engaging, all without feeling even slightly forced. I've read plenty of books where in reading it I can just feel the author saying "Eh, did you catch that? Aren't I clever?" Cosmic was not like that at all. It's narrated by a twelve year-old boy and the writing feels natural and "right."

Kids seven and up should like Cosmic a lot-- probably boys more than girls though. The perfect age range would be ten to thirteen. Younger than that and they might not be able to appreciate the themes (such as what it means to be a parent, both for the child and for the adult), and older than that and they're probably onto edgier, more (what they'd consider) grown-up stuff. Take a look at the first couple of chapters in the "Look Inside" feature here on Amazon (the first few chapters are very short). I think that's the best way to judge whether you or your kids would like it. I think you'll see what I mean about the writing itself. If you're not hooked after reading the sample then the book isn't for you.

I haven't ready any of Boyce's other books but now I will, and I can't wait. (I've seen the movie Millions though and it was very good. I recommend it.)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic!, June 26, 2010
By 
Fred (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
I can not speak highly enough of Cosmic. I do a lot of reading and it's been a long time since I've enjoyed a book this much. (I read "grown-up" stuff as well as kids' stuff, because we have a seven year-old.) I won't bother with a plot summary here, because several other people already have, plus it's in the Product Description. Suffice to say that the plot was intriguing, fun, and had plenty of surprises. What I WILL say is that the writing itself is some of the best I've ever read; it's clever, funny and engaging, all without feeling even slightly forced. I've read plenty of books where in reading it I can just feel the author saying "Eh, did you catch that? Aren't I clever?" Cosmic was not like that at all. It's narrated by a twelve year-old boy and the writing feels natural and "right."

Kids seven and up should like Cosmic a lot-- probably boys more than girls though. The perfect age range would be ten to thirteen. Younger than that and they might not be able to appreciate the themes (such as what it means to be a parent, both for the child and for the adult), and older than that and they're probably onto edgier, more (what they'd consider) grown-up stuff. Take a look at the first couple of chapters in the "Look Inside" feature here on Amazon (the first few chapters are very short). I think that's the best way to judge whether you or your kids would like it. I think you'll see what I mean about the writing itself. If you're not hooked after reading the sample then the book isn't for you.

I haven't ready any of Boyce's other books but now I will, and I can't wait. (I've seen the movie Millions though and it was very good. I recommend it.)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked on this book!, March 9, 2012
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This review is from: Cosmic (Paperback)
We're half way through this book and have been impressed with each and every amusing and unnerving chapter. The voices of the characters are convincing and the unexpected twists of the plot are just as believable as they are outrageous. I'm not sure how it'll all play out but I'm glad we're along for the ride.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astromically Recommended!, February 2, 2011
By 
M. Lee (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
As a mother who screens everything her 11-year-old daughter reads, I raised an eyebrow when our family librarian recommended "Cosmic" by Frank Cottrell Boyce for a monthly *boys'* book club meeting. Of course, girls will read anything if they like reading to begin with, and, true to promise, "Cosmic" is an excellent, excellent read! While there have been many books written that deal with the role of fathers in a child's life, this book is truly an ode to fathers everywhere in the subtle way it brings up the idea that dads are made way, way before they get their first stubble. As a matter of fact, nowadays, when kids physically mature sooner, the message is all the more important. Here, a 12-year-old boy is mistaken for an 11-year-old girl's father, and he plays along for the ride - actually, a ride in space. How atrocious is that presumption? Yet it is so cleverly done, and so timely, too, since it was barely this past week before that a middle-schooler in England was asked to leave school grounds by the principal who thought he was a man! This is a readaloud, laughaloud book for the home library. Buy it for Father's Day, for your son's rite of passage, your daughter's sneak peak into how boys think. Astronomically original and highly recommended! In the words of said daughter,

"The book, 'Cosmic' by Frank Cottrell Boyce has got to be one of the best books I have ever read.

"Liam Digby has always been sorta out of this world. But never literally. It's just that he is tall. Very tall. Sometimes it's great to be mistaken for a teacher on the first day of school or to be able to take a Porsche out for a drive. It's mostly frustrating, though. So Liam decides to flip things around. But when he and his 'daughter' Florida get put on a rocket in China that takes them to the moon with three other kids, he really is out of this world.

"My favorite part of the book was when Liam and Florida had to have police escort them out of their car because Liam couldn't drive.

"I would give this book five totally cosmic stars: one for the characters, two for the humor, one for the plot and one for the fact that everyone, old or young, can read this book and enjoy it tremendously."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book full of laughs and delight for adults too, August 31, 2009
By 
Rachel DuBois (Alyth, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cosmic (Paperback)
Cosmic is on my list of top books that will inspire delight, wonder and laughter in adults at least as much as young adults or kids. Like the best of the Muppets, Cosmic is written with plenty of in-jokes for the older crowd while still maintaining an innocence and wonder about something as thrilling as going into space.

Read it and feel like a kid again!
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth below me, drifting, falling, January 19, 2010
This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
Close your eyes. Lean back. Take a breath. Now think. Think about the books you read when you were a child. Think about the ones you loved. The ones you still think about sometimes. The ones that encouraged you to consider the world around you.

Got them in your head? Great. Now just pluck out for me the ones that took place in outer space. Go on. I can wait.

What's that? You can't think of any significant children's books that took place in space? Would The Little Prince count? I guess so, but that's not really the kind of space I mean. I'm talking about real space. The kind we blasted into in the 1960s and then never returned to. Where are the books about kids in space that have remained within the public consciousness? Fact of the matter is, there aren't any. Oh, there are tons of books where kids go to space, sure. But how many of them are classics? How many of them are memorable? How many could you tell to the person on the street and get a spark of recognition in return? For now, none. But let me call you back in fifteen years and maybe your answer will be different. Because by then Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce should hopefully have found its readership. And if it has, we're one step closer to having a space-based chapter book that everyone can enjoy.

What happens when a twelve-year-old boy goes through such a growth spurt that he looks like he's thirty? Well, in the case of Liam, inadvertent space travel. All right. Maybe not all that inadvertent. Liam's a pretty good kid, but looking like a grown-up has gotten him into sticky situations. There was the time he was the only kid tall enough to ride the roller coaster, which in turn led to him getting free rides (and freaking out his dad). The time he almost got away with driving a car out of a dealership. And then there was the time he found himself on a rocket hurtling through space without knowing how to get it back. That sort of brings us up to speed because when the novel opens, that's where Liam still is. He sort of won a contest for the world's greatest dads and conned his classmate Florida into pretending to be his daughter. And then they sort of got flown to China where she was going to be one of the first kids to go to outer space. And then he kind of sort of won a competition to be the legal guardian that went along with the kids. Only now something has gone wrong and Liam's finding that being the "sensible adult" is a lot harder when you want to scream and yell and run around like all the other kids freaking out around you. Instead, it's up to him to get them safely home. Big job. Big kid.

Consider one mister Frank Cottrell Boyce. Here we have a man who has written books like Millions and Framed. He's sort of a one-namer writer. And his shtick, as I see it, is to write books that star boys, have high-concept ideas, are laugh-on-the-subway-and-get-strange-looks funny, and then also make you think about life, death, the universe, and everything in it. Millions paired boys finding two duffle bags full of money with questions about God and Jesus. Cosmic, for its part, pairs the story of a twelve-year-old who looks thirty with ample consideration of the eye of infinity and our place in the universe. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. This then is a book that's amusing for all kids, but will make some of them consider the big picture as well.

Now admittedly, I wasn't hooked on Cosmic from the get go. The beginning was fun, but then Liam started to get into trouble and I was less amused by that. And about the time he was making a fool of himself in front of the real dads in China, I was positively embarrassed for him, and not sure I'd want to pick up the book again. But when Liam started competing with the other dads to become the one that went into space, I was hooked again. And after that the story just got more and more exciting. The multiple near death experiences didn't hurt either.

After a while I realized that some of this book feels a bit like the movie Big. A kid gets a body of a grown man and suddenly the world is his oyster. The difference of course being that in Big the boy can go back to looking like a kid and in Cosmic Liam will just have to grow into his. It occurred to me after a while that adults reading this book would identify with it immediately. You find yourself in the body of a grown-up and everyone starts expecting you to act like a sensible human being with responsibilities? That's my life every day! No wonder Liam eventually thinks to himself, "What's the point in forfeiting your childhood if all you get for it is filling in forms?" So obviously grown-ups are going to relate to Liam, but would kids? Well, sure! Talk about the ultimate wish fulfillment. To live in the world and find yourself getting free rides at the amusement park, free car rides, and all the perks that go with the job . . . where's the downside? Boyce shows the downside, but I don't know how many kids will care. The fact that Liam's a hoot to go along with (even when he's being impossibly thick) was just a nice plus.

After all, Boyce is a funny writer. He knows how to craft a good line. Example A: "I don't think the world has vanished. But it is worrying not being able to see it. After all, Earth is where I keep all my stuff." When Liam's dad tells him to get a friend who's not an online companion his argument is, "You need a friend who is visible to the naked eye." And Boyce is the master of funny (and always pertinent) chapter headings like "The Ice-Cream Man of the Gobi Desert".

It's also just a great book about dads and how important they are. Adults reading will understand pretty early on that Florida's supposedly perfect father that she's always comparing Liam to is just a figment of her imagination. In fact, fathers are sort of the most consistent theme of the book. Early on Liam comes to the conclusion that his dad only speaks on five separate topics of conversation. Then, when he finds himself a kind of pseudo-father, he steals his dad's book on how to talk to teens, and finds himself in the old man's shoes. Finally, even when he's in the most trouble, Liam can't help but think that his dad may still find him, even in the farthest reaches of space. It's this childlike faith that keeps reminding you that for all his posturing, Liam's really just a kid like the rest of them. And when Liam acts like a kid, it always makes sense. He doesn't do it randomly. He just reacts to situations like a child would want to and the result is sometimes funny, sometimes disastrous. Which in turn makes his sacrifice at the end all the more impressive.

Some may feel that the book is too doggone English to appeal to American kids. I don't. The Britishisms aren't a problem, though I did have to look up what a satnav was. Ditto haribo. Not that they aren't easy to look up, but you may scratch your head a little when you run across them. Still, kids today have grown up on a steady diet of Harry Potter. In nine out of ten occasions they'll be able to parse what it means when Liam says of chips, "the moment they make contact with your tongue they stop being crisps and become soggies." Honestly I worry more about the celebrity gossip repeated by Florida. I'd like this book to age gracefully, but its technological references and mentions that Tom Cruise's teeth are completely false may make it difficult to peruse thirty years from now.

Interestingly, the book I pair this one with in my head is actually Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11Moonshot by Brian Floca. Now, granted, Moonshot is a picture book and Cosmic is a wordy bit of fluffy genius, but the two share one significant thing in common. They have a good solid appreciation of that feeling of awe and fear we have sometimes when we gaze up at the moon. When Floca writes, "They go rushing into darkness, flying toward the Moon, far away, cold and quiet, no air, no life, but glowing in the sky," how different is it from Boyce when he says, "The surface is white as paper and the shadows are sharp and definite" and later "The stars were getting just a bit dimmer. Like someone was drawing a curtain over them. But I knew what was behind the curtain now. Behind the curtain was everything, and I was nothing." In both cases, the authors are dealing with a feeling that writers for centuries have grappled to put to paper: wonder. Wonder and awe. These are books that look into the blackness that surrounds the earth and presses upon us from all sides, and makes it manageable and comprehensible to young minds. They acknowledge the fear and they counter it with beauty.

Fifteen years from now, I like to think, I'll meet you again. And I'll tell you to close your eyes. I'll tell you to lean back. I'll tell you to take a breath and to think. Think about a book about kids in space that is memorable, classic, and in the pubic consciousness. And maybe, just maybe, your eyes will flutter open and you'll shoot me a pitying look of mild disgust as you say sarcastically, "Uh, like `Cosmic'? Hello?" That's what I'm shooting for right now. Because as novels for kids go, Boyce has managed to write one that's just the right mixture of fun and philosophy. Kids will love it and grown-ups will love to read it with them. Doesn't matter how tall or short you are, because Cosmic is for you.

Ages 9-12.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For my son, January 16, 2013
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This review is from: Cosmic (Paperback)
I have been in the market for more books for my 9-year-old son and have read many reviews and synopsis'... He is in 3rd grade, reading at a 4th grade level currently, and my goal was to build his book collection up with books that are more suitable to his reading level. This book I think fits the bill perfectly. He hasn't read it yet, but was very excited about getting his new books. Something different that wasn't part of a series like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". Of course his ultimate favorite (and mine) will probably always be "Lost on a Mountain in Maine". :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffeechug Book Review - www.coffeeforthebrain.blogspot.com, January 19, 2011
This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
If you look anywhere on the internet or talk to anyone who has read this novel they will probably tell you how much they love this book. They will tell how great the storyline was and how fun of a read. Would I disagree? No, I would not, but I don't think I will be placing it on my Cybil Shortlist either.

As I take on the role of a judge for the Cybils I find myself reading in a new way. I am reading and really paying attention to all the details of the story. I think abut the average reader. I believe that this story would be a huge read in my middle school. Actually, I am not sure why I have not seen more students reading this one yet? Middle grade students will love this story. A kid who pulls off being an adult to fly in a rocket? How fun would that be. I read the story in a few days and rather enjoyed entering this "Cosmic" world. I did not feel any connection to it and that is why I will not be placing it on my shortlist. Does that mean that I would not give this book a 5/5 star rating? Heck no, this book is great. If I had a chance to do book talks to my students this book would be up there on my list. Knowing that I have read some others and a predicting that many more will be just as good it is a hard decision.

One element that I really did appreciate was the whole "dad" element that was presented in the story. Being a dad myself I had to stop and think that I keep my kid spirit with my children and not always be a "dad" with making rules, keeping track of this and that, etc. It is easy to be caught up in the actions of a regular day to find yourself laying in bed wondering why you did not take time to play with your kids.

I am very interested in reading the other stories by Frank Cottrell Boyce as I think he is an amazing author. The story would appeal to both boys and girls. The story reads fast and contains everything a great story should.

Go check this book out if you have not already read this one. It is well worth the time to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At first, I thought the book was boring, but not in the end., April 17, 2011
By 
Moon Shim (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cosmic (Hardcover)
What do you see in the cover? That's right. A boy standing in the medow with a triumph looking into the galaxy and moon shining upon him. The boy is Liam Digby, even taller than his father. Everyone thinks he is a grown-up. His school teachers, bus drivers, everyone else except his parents and friends. Due to the fact that everyone mistook him for an adult, Liam's friend Florida gets up with an idea of - dad and child faking. They go everywhere, including only-for adults to a car store. But after learning a lesson, they don't do it again. Now, we come to the part of 'Cosmic'. Cosmic is the favorite word to Liam. Also, the title of the book, and the reason why it is cosmic is: blasting off to space. Liam has been specially selected to be the best father in the history: letting their child off into space. After winning the competition, they (the winners of the competitions) blasted out of Earth for the tour of universe. However, there was a mistake and the mission was supposedly failed. However, willing to survive, they calculated the course they had to take and driffed back to Earth safe. After that; a happy ending.

The book, I must say, wasn't quite appealing for the time (mainly because I was working on Fox Trot - my favorite comic book). However, after reading the ending first, I was able to get back in course and finished Cosmic in a flash.
To sum-up, it was a great book and I enjoyed it a lot.
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Cosmic
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Paperback - July 3, 2009)
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