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Reviewed by Joyce McPherson for Readers' Favorite
Space Ranger Fred and the Umbrella Rescue by Matthew Newnham is a delightful early chapter book about Fred, who is almost seven years old. He is enlisted to help Zando Centauri, the space ranger from his favorite comic book. Fred has already earned the title “Space Ranger” in an earlier adventure. On this particular rainy day, Zando appears and whisks Fred away to a birthday party for the daughter of King Gandori, whom Fred has helped earlier.
Unfortunately, their spacecraft needs refueling, and during this delay they encounter an alien Quantaxian who needs help. The alien is a rough-looking creature with tattoos, and he has been stranded for three weeks because no one would help him. Zando is wary of him, but Fred insists that they help. In the end, Fred saves King Gandori once again when he arrives with the alien who is shipping PFLS’s which are exactly what the king needs to save the princess’s rainy party from ruin. If you would like to know what a PFLS is, you will have to read the book for yourself!
Newnham incorporates many fun details like Jupiter, Fred’s stinky dog, and Zando Centuri’s embarrassment when he discovers that the PFLS has already been invented on earth. The best part of the tale is the way Newnham incorporates the lesson of the Good Samaritan in an imaginative space story. The simple illustrations and text may even inspire young space rangers to take up their pens and create their own stories. I recommend Space Ranger Fred and the Umbrella Rescue for early readers, reluctant readers, and wanna-be space rangers. An endearing early chapter book about space heroes, aliens, and helping others.