Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp

Clarion/Versify. May 2023. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780358423379.
Gr 3-6–This action-packed book combines elements of science fiction, mystery, and social commentary into an exciting, quickly read narrative. The story revolves around African American twin prodigies, 12-year-olds Wiki and Leen, who win scholarships to the prestigious STEM-focused Camp Cosmos located in Virginia Beach. There, they quickly become involved in a stimulating competition where child wunderkinds are challenged to create the best prototype for a futuristic space shuttle. As they embark on this exciting enterprise, they discover the camp’s sponsor and amazing entrepreneur Petey Thunkle, whose inventions have shaped the modern world, has disappeared. The twins, armed with their incredible memories, amazing problem-solving skills, and scientific knowledge, join forces with new friends to rescue their generous, but not necessarily ethical, funder. Rich social commentary is woven throughout, addressing issues such as sibling rivalry, bullying, gender disparity, and the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities in society. References to science concepts like time travel, artificial intelligence, the butterfly effect, and space travel encourage future research topics for the curious reader. The book is illustrated throughout with pencil drawings that add details to the narrative. While working well as a standalone, this story could be considered a companion book to the “Legendary Alston Boys Adventures” series and foreshadows a promise of more adventures to come.
VERDICT Highlighting the strength of female characters and the possibilities of young minds, this book will find an audience in fans of young science fiction adventure tales.

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