Letter to Pluto – written and illustrated by Lou Treleaven


   Letter to Pluto – written and illustrated by Lou Treleaven, Maverick Arts Publishing / distributed by Lerner Publishing, 9781848864702, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Science fiction

What did you like about the book? Young Jon is like many other kids in the 24th century, he isn’t thrilled about writing, especially on paper. His teacher, Mrs. Hall, requires him to write to a penpal named Straxi on Pluto, and she states that all letters must be handwritten, of all things! As if that isn’t bad enough, Jon discovers that Straxi is a human girl! The text is written on a backdrop of notebook paper in an interesting font. Treleaven’s illustrations add realistic touches and a level of engagement for younger readers. As he exchanges letters with his penpal, he discovers that the vomblefruit trees are soon to be destroyed on Pluto to make way for tourism.  Straxi is concerned and sends Jon a vomblefruit that his mom attempts to keep alive in her greenhouse. Soon, the authorities on Pluto realize the devastating effect that clearing the trees has had on their environment. Jon and Straxi become instant celebrities when Jon sends her the seed from his fruit so that it may be planted to keep the species alive. The story ends with Jon heading to Pluto to visit Straxi and her family. Mrs. Hall writes to Jon while he is there, pleading with him to respond, even suggesting she will lower his grade. Yet, she doesn’t hear back from him. The abrupt ending suggests that there may be another book or a series waiting in the wings.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Although the premise of the story is charming, and the environmental awareness backdrop original, the character development is lacking, as is any possibility of diversity. Lastly, the story feels very reminiscent of the Lorax in many ways.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This may be a nice addition for beginning chapter book readers. Those who enjoy the Lorax story may enjoy the similarities.

Who should buy this book? Elementary or public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Chapter books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review: 8/23/2020

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