Title: Too Much Space!
Series: Beep and Bob #1
Author: Jonathan Roth
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Review Spoilers: Low
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Reading this book as an adult it seems a bit simplistic but you can tell that it would be a great book for kids who are just learning to tackle chapter books. It would also probably make a great read-aloud book for story time. The chapters are generally pretty short and most ‘arcs’ throughout only last two or three chapters so kids and their parents could easily spread the story out a bit without ending on any major cliffhangers.
Too Much Space sees young Bob essentially writing mandatory journal entries as part of a school program where student mail their journals back in time for kids living in our world. It’s a bit of a gimmick but it gives younger readers the illusion that they have a futuristic penpal writing to them about his strange world.
What I like about Bob is that he doesn’t really like being in space and that’s very clear from his entries. It adds a bit of humor to the story. You have a reluctant narrator who is afraid of half of the things he’s experiencing. His hesitation and uncertainty in the face of things young readers would probably love to experience leads to some really great, hilarious moments.
Throughout Bob and Beep get into some pretty silly predicaments like Bob getting his tongue stuck to Pluto, Beep eating Bob’s socks, and more. There are also some cool pop culture references that kids may or may not understand but that adults will enjoy. There’s a Star Wars mention and one of Bob’s classmates, Lani, has a few super smart spiders who write out math equations… with the exception of one who insists on writing ‘Some Pig’ in her own webs.
The one thing that I didn’t like in this book is this idea that Beep looks at Bob as his mother. He’s always referring to Bob as ‘Bob-Mother’ but the reasoning is explained once in a few throwaway sentences. And, honestly, the relationship isn’t that fleshed out. Beep is always tagging along and often times the reason Bob gets into the weird situations he gets into. Their relationship just doesn’t really feel as strong as you’d expect from a book that’s literally named after both characters. There’s more to Bob’s relationship with his crush, Lani, and his bullying classmate, Blaster. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. Honestly, Lani is amazing. She’s brilliant and very much science-oriented. She’s definitely keeps Bob on his toes.
Still, Too Much Space! does as great job of introducing Bob, Beep, and their story.
Kids are going to really enjoy the silliness of the book and I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of all the silly space-themed names Bob’s classmates have. And while Beep seems to be a largely inconsequential side-kick to me, I’m sure his antics and unique perspective on the day-to-day workings of elementary school will appeal to younger readers. Plus what kid won’t find a silly, sock eating alien funny!?
Too Much Space! is a great introduction to the series and characters. It’ll undoubtedly be a great pick for kids and parents to read together. And parents will appreciate that at the end there is a brief section of real-life facts to go along with the story they just read. Plus if your kids do like it, you’re in luck! Unlike a lot of kid’s series that require you to wait a while for the next book in the series, the second book, Party Crashers, comes out the same day!