Reviews /

Lunar

Authored by Chris Bradford
Illustrated by Charlotte Grange
Published by Barrington Stoke Ltd

Lunar is a fast-paced space survival thriller by Chris Bradford, delivering all the elements of the best disaster stories within 60 pages, perfectly punctuated with comic-book illustrations.

Luna is a young explorer living on the moon with her dad, who is a Moon Miner searching for precious minerals and rocks. When a meteor shower hits, they get separated and Luna is left fighting for survival under extreme circumstances. Can she figure out a plan to get to safety and raise the alarm for rescue before her oxygen runs out?

The adventure starts straight away and the pace continues to keep the reader engaged and turning the pages through all the twists and turns. It’s great to see such a strong, female lead in a sci-fi survival story and Luna’s sassy comments and jokes punctuate the story with a humorous, authentic voice. Older children will find Luna relatable and she talks about all the top topics children always ask about when discussing space, including toilet logistics!

We learn that Luna and her father went to the moon as an escape after her mum died, with grief and loss sensitively handled through the back-story. Bradford also manages to cleverly drop science and space facts into the book, giving it gravitas without overwhelming young readers.

In typical Barrington Stoke style, this will appeal to less confident readers with its full and part-page illustrations courtesy of Charlotte Grange and it packs a big punch in just 60 pages. However, the science and technology weaved into the storyline will also engage more confident readers and it would be ideal as a class novel or guided group reader from Year 4 up.  As well as the obvious links to space and STEM themes, this would be an ideal model for disaster stories and first-person narratives, guiding and inspiring children to craft their own versions.