Review Blog

Jul 30 2013

Cartboy and the time capsule by L.A. Campbell

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN: 9781743314807.
Recommended. Cartboy is another tribute to the success of the Wimpy Kid style of books though with less drawings and more text.
Hal Rifkind is in year 6 with simple needs, a room of his own, the key to reaching level 14 on the best videogame ever, RavenCave, which he plays with his best friend Arnie and an easy year at school.
Not only does he have to share a bedroom with his twin baby sisters, but he has an aversion to History and his father will only entertain moving his home office to the shed, enabling Hal to have his own room, when his grades in history improve . . . . . dramatically.
Mr Tupkin the history teacher sets a yearlong assignment, to write a journal to someone living in the future telling them about life today which will be placed in a time capsule to be opened in 2500. The book is Hal's journal complete with greetings like 'Dear Alien/Person/Possible Humanoid/Robot:' drawings and pictures with funny captions, and some highly amusing and inventive timelines.
Hal has other problems not least of which is the shopping cart he uses to take his books to school in, resulting in his new nickname favoured by the school bullies and his mother's aim to save the planet through recycling meaning Hal wears ill fitting hand-me-downs. The looming school dance, Arnie's apparent betrayal and even worse history results are all documented as entries in his journal.
This book will be popular especially I expect with boys who will be able to relate to Hal's trials and tribulations with family and friends and enjoy his funny attempts to solve his problems with a minimum of effort on his part.
Sue Keane

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