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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Space Ranger Fred and the Umbrella Rescue is a children’s book written and illustrated by Matt Newnham. Six-year-old Fred Sanders is the youngest Space Ranger in the universe. As he looks out from his bedroom window into the pouring rain, Fred smiles as he remembers his most recent awesome adventure in which he had assisted one of his favorite Space Rangers, Zando Centauri. Looking down at his dog, Jupiter, sleeping on his bed, Fred feels the familiar shudder of Zando’s space rocket as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Quickly pulling on his Space Ranger suit, Fred watches as Zando disembarks from the space rocket, carrying an umbrella. Fred is invited to a special surprise birthday party for Emperor Gandori’s daughter. On their way to the party, Fred and Zando perform an unexpected rescue, which not only results in a surprise extra guest, but also saves the party from an unforeseen disaster.
The excitement and humor which carried throughout Matt Newnham’s adventurous children’s book was an absolute delight, as were the illustrations which were so bright and colorful. I could not help but laugh out loud at some of the weird and wonderful names which Zando Centauri came up with for everyday devices used on Earth, such as umbrellas, windshield wipers and buckets. Whether or not the adventure was real or imagined by the child, the fable-like story line was quite heartwarming. Refusing to rescue somebody because they might possibly be from a part of space where people were not popular is typical of stereotyping and racial profiling. It reminded me of a story which I'd heard as a child, titled The Good Samaritan, when it was pointed out that everybody needs help, even if they are a stranger to us. Kindness and common sense prevailed, both of which reaped their own rewards. Whilst Space Ranger Fred and the Umbrella Rescue is an adventure book filled with imagination, it equally carries vital lessons in life about being selfless, helping others, and not judging a book by its cover. I wholeheartedly enjoyed Matt Newnham’s space antics and recommend this book to be read at story time to children aged 4-7 years of age, or as a read-it-yourself book for early readers.