An Alien in the Jam Factory is the debut book from Chrissie Sains and it is jam-packed with fun, inventions and a whole lot of jam (most of which sounds delicious).
Scooter McLay leads a pretty cool life, inventing new jam flavours in the top secret family-run jam factory. There is one thing missing from Scooter’s life though and that is someone to share all of his jam-tastic creations with. Enter Fizzbee, a lively and fun-filled orange alien who bounds into Scooter’s life and brings with her mischief, mayhem and her own inventing talents.
Next door, Daffy Dodgy, the owner of Dodgy Doughnuts, is formulating a plan to find out the secrets behind the most delicious jam in the world. With the jam factory and its secrets under threat, will Scooter and Fizzbee be able to stop the robbery…
With elements of Home Alone, Mission Impossible and Honey I Shrunk the Kids this is a brilliantly funny read that I devoured in one sitting - much like I would devour many of Scooter’s delicious sounding jam flavours although I’d probably avoid the Brussels Sprout Jam. A specially trained guinea-pig, an awesome jam factory complete with its own roller coaster, a child jam-inventing genius, a loveable alien whose preferred mode of transport is a jam tart and a snail named Gary are the kind of things that make this book so much fun to read. The light-hearted and deliciously jammy adventure delivers a big helping of pure unbridled enjoyment that we all need in our lives. Bringing the action to life and adding a large spoonful of joy are black and white illustrations from Jenny Taylor that feature on almost every page.
The story is told from two viewpoints, Daffy Dodgy is busy preparing her heist whilst Scooter is trying to get Fizzbee under control and come up with a plan to foil Daffy and her hopefully highly-trained guinea pig, Boris. Action flits between the two storylines before the inevitable confrontation in the jam factory that delivers the perfect sweet and sticky ending.
Something different that I really liked is that Scooter has cerebral palsy and whilst this is not a significant part of the story it is lovely to see a diverse character who children can see themselves reflected in. What is great about Scooter is that his disability doesn’t stop him from having fun. Sains simply presents having cerebral palsy as a different normal and lightly touches on some of the challenges that it can present.
This very funny and jam-filled adventure would make for a great read-aloud to younger children and will be gobbled up by independent readers in lower key stage two. It is sure to satisfy the appetite of all jam-loving children.
Recommended for 6+.