Review: The Incredible Record Smashers

Written by Jenny Pearson
Illustrated by Erica Salcedo
Published by Usborne on 29th April

The Incredible Record Smashers is an absolute winner!  It is a wonderfully heart-warming, giggle-inducing, action-packed adventure told in an incredibly honest and authentic voice that makes it such a touching and exceptional story.

Lucy is a fixer, and she’s good at fixing things, but what about a person?  Lucy’s Mum is desperately tired, sad and feeling broken, and Lucy is determined to fix her:  to make her happy again.  Whilst her Mum is spending some time in hospital to help her, Lucy stays with her effervescently eccentric, pink-haired Aunty Sheila who is a whirlwind of brilliance:  ever-prepared, well-stocked and a car boot sale enthusiast not to mention being a no-nonsense, kind-hearted, supportive all-round wonderful person, even if she does make fizzy yoghurt!  To be honest, this actually sounds rather good!

Aunty Sheila invites her neighbours’ Grandson, and Lucy’s classmate, Sandesh, over to spend time with Lucy and they soon become best friends.  When Lucy finds a photo of her Mum with famous singer, Paul Castellini and now head judge on new TV show, Record Smashers, she hatches a plan, a plan to reunite her Mum with the one person she believes can make her happy again.

And so begins Lucy’s mission to appear on Record Smashers.  Of course, there’s a slight problem:  becoming a record breaker takes a lot of time, and Lucy only has ten days to prove that she can smash a record.  Luckily, she has the benefit of Sandesh’s vast knowledge of record-breaking facts to help her on her way.  Cue watermelons, clothes pegs, flipper-hurdling, kumquats, and giggles galore! As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, the best friends also find themselves caught up with two baddies who may not be quite what they seem.  Be prepared for scenes of absolute comedic genius as Lucy and Sandesh get to grip with what it takes to be a record-breaker!

I totally adored both Lucy and Sandesh who form such close bond of friendship.  Sandesh is incredibly supportive, kind-hearted and empathetic – and an absolute fount of knowledge with his weird and wonderful record-breaking facts which kept me thoroughly entertained – and fascinated!  Lucy shows such a touching naivety and innocence through her chatty, witty and sincere narrative, but is also one resilient and determined cookie.  My heart ached for her as she opened up about her Mum’s mental health and shared her feelings with such honesty.  The love between Lucy and her mother really shone through as does the importance of accepting help when times are tough.

Oh my goodness, it takes a special story to make you laugh one minute and cry the next; to care so much for the characters that you become completely caught up in their lives.  This is a such a heartfelt story of friendship and family, of caring about others, and being brave enough to open up and talk to someone when life is difficult.  It is a story that addresses the issue of mental health illness sensitively and gently, and encourages empathy, understanding and gives a route into opening up discussion around mental health problems. 

The illustrations are brilliantly lively, humorous and expressive and complement the story perfectly.  I also just have to mention the chapter headings which share world records very cleverly linked to the story – inspired!

This is an incredibly heartfelt story, sparkling with kindness, humour, friendship and family, and is one I cannot recommend highly enough. 

Thank you to Fritha Lindqvist and Usborne for a copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 

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