Book Review, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

Book Review: Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson and illustrated by Chris Judge

Short Review:

Funny, silly and yet full of a massive amount of scientific facts, oh and a ton of bogey jokes, with loads of illustrations. A story about the trouble with having an annoying younger brother and trying to save a dinosaur, win a science contest while trying not to get to much snot on your jumper or embarrassed to death by your younger brother at school.


Four out of five Storgy typewriters


Other books you might also like:

Alex Sparrow by Jennifer Killick, Bee Boy: Curse of the Vampire Mites by Tony De Saulles


Longer Review:

Planet Stan is a really funny book. It had me chuckling all the way through, and it’s making my daughter do the same as I read it to her before bed. She can empathise with the lead character Stanley, as like Stan she has a younger brother of the same age. Now Stanley’s brother Fred is particularly fond of bogies and is generally covered in snot, while my little girl’s brother is more of a farter, but you get the idea – siblings: a lot of us have them, and they are pretty gross.


Stan loves science, particularly astronomy. He wants to win a telescope for the school in the local inter-school science competition because, with a younger brother like Fred who breaks everything, it’s the only way he’s going to get his hands on a telescope.


The problem is, Fred’s favourite exhibit at the local museum, Rory the T-Rex, is being put into storage for a new-fangled eco-display. Stan and the rest of his family and friends get drawn into a plan to save Rory, but with a brother like Fred it isn’t going to be easy, and it’ll probably muck up his plans to get a telescope too. plaet stan back cover


There are jokes on every page, as well as a ton of great illustrations by Chris Judge. In fact, the whole design of the paperback book is brilliant. The illustrations present facts in funny and often disgusting ways. There is even a scale on the edge of each page tracking the mood of the lead character. They have done a great job a long with the publisher Oxford University Press at producing a book that is not only fun to read but also to interact with. It’s no easy job to tell a story, and itis just as hard to present facts in interesting and funny ways, and yet Planet Stan does both at the same time and in a way that enhances both.


This is not a big action and adventure story, but it is no less interesting. It focuses on the little things, which can mean just as much, like a relationship with a sibling or communities we live in.


In sum, a thoroughly enjoyable read, with laughs on every page. Perfect for eight to ten-year olds with a younger brother or sister in their life.


Planet Stan is available for Oxford University Press here.



Elaine Wickson

You can find out more about Elaine Wickson on her website. Here is how she describes herself:

​I live in Oxford with my husband and two sons, and have written stories since knee-high socks.

Some of my many jobs have included school photographer, film extra, potato-peeler, and barmaid. I also worked within the media industry for both local radio and newspapers, but it was a visit to the Oxford Literary Festival that rekindled my passion for writing. Listening to authors and illustrators talk about their work ignited the imagination in my long dormant brain.

Nowadays, if I’m not star-gazing, I’m often found in my Plotting Shed at the bottom of the garden, where all my ideas germinate.


You can find out more about the illustrator Chris Judge here.

Top Tip: If you share a plotting shed with lots of woodlice, give them names – it makes them less scary.

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