Trapped shoveling dung on his parents Moog farm, it’s no wonder that six-year-old Rex dreams of becoming the king of space. The big surprise here is that, after building a warbot for a school project, he actually manages to conquer the universe . . . unbeknownst to his parents, of course. Eventually, however, the Galactic Alliance tracks Rex down and, even with his dung-blasting robot, the little fellow must relinquish his position and return home. Dreamer Rex, who is often in trouble at school, burdened by chores, and always ready for some action, will prove very familiar to many children. Adding appeal is Duddle’s art, which has the glossy sensibility of modern animation and brims over with fantastic retro robots, spaceships, and weapons. Although a few lines of text seem targeted toward parents as much as their kids, this could prove to be a new favorite among young children on the lookout for sf action and humor. Grades 1-3. --Jesse Karp
About the Author
was a concept artist for Aardman Animations’ feature film The Pirates! Band of Misfits
, starring Hugh Grant. He has also written two popular picture books, The Pirate Cruncher
and the best-selling The Pirates Next Door
, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2012. He lives in Wales with his wife and their two little girls.