Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Jenny Pearson – The Incredible Record Smashers – Guest Post

The Incredible Record Smashers is the second hilarious and heart-warming adventure from Jenny Pearson, author and primary school teacher, & illustrated by Erica Salcedo. Jenny’s debut, The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, was a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and is a 2021 Read for Empathy title.

The Incredible Record Smashers publishes on 29 April and it’s already gathering rave reviews, including one from legend Frank Cottrell-Boyce who calls it ‘funny and tender’ !

Lucy is a fixer of broken things. But there’s one thing she can’t fix and that’s her unhappy mum. Until she comes up with an INCREDIBLE plan. Along with her best friend, Sandesh, Lucy is going to SMASH a world record. Because she’s convinced that starry Paul Castellini – Record Smashers TV host and all-time crooner – is the answer to her mum’s problems. But breaking a world RECORD when watermelons, kumquats, two baddies and a 30cm shatter-resistant school ruler are involved isn’t quite as easy as Lucy thought. Can she learn that sometimes happiness doesn’t come with a plan?

Here Jenny writes on

The Hunt for Happiness

When I started writing for children, I only really thought about writing something which would make them laugh. However, as the words come out on the page, I always seem to include some bigger themes. With The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, those themes were of grief and belonging and in The Incredible Record Smashers, Lucy is living with a parent with depression.

One thread that I notice running through both these books and subsequent ones I have written, is that of happiness. When I look at what my characters are ultimately trying to achieve it is to be happy. I suppose, aren’t we all? Of course, it is true that we cannot be happy all the time – we are supposed to experience a wide range of emotions because that is what makes us human. But I do think being happy most of the time, is something we want for ourselves and our loved ones. It might, in fact be, the biggest wish we have.

During the writing process, you often ask what does your character want versus what do they actually need. For Lucy, she wants to break a world record because she believes that this will lead to her mum being happy again. Of course, it is not that simple. However much Lucy wants to, she cannot fix her mum. Depression is a much more complicated beast. Lucy needs to realise that and she also needs to realise that she cannot be responsible for someone else’s happiness, and that she must take time to attend to her own.

Lucy’s journey is one of self-discovery. She learns that happiness does not come from some great big record breaking event and a perfect ending. People and life are not perfect, but they are incredible. She sees happiness can come from a series of moments – most often with the people that she loves. And that smaller things like a bike ride with her best friend Sandesh, or a gift of a bag of sweets can bring so much happiness without her even noticing it at the time.

So I think we all need to take a moment, once in a while, to see those smaller things in life that bring us moments of joy and happiness. There are out there. I promise. You just need to notice them.

My review of The Incredible Record Smashers:

The Incredible Record Smashers is a laugh-out-loud story that hits the reader right in the heart. Bravely addressing a challenge so many children face, Jenny Pearson skilfully leads Lucy on a journey of discovery. Caring for a parent struggling with depression is hard. This story does not shy away from that. Through humour, empathy and care, readers work with Lucy to find out what exactly makes someone happy.

Friendship is at the heart of this story. With the charming Sandesh by her side, Lucy is encouraged to reach inside herself and discover just how much she is capable of.

Who doesn’t love a world record? The Guinness Book of World Records is probably the most read book in any primary classroom! There are records a plenty in The Incredible Record Smashers. With tips, tricks and “Do NOT Try This at Home” safety warnings, there is something for everyone! (We’re definitely going to try the chocolate orange record at our house!)

The Incredible Record Smashers is packed full of meaning and is sure to be loved by so many readers. It is the perfect follow-up to The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates – hilarious hijinks with a powerful message.

The Incredible Record Smashers is available from many fantastic book shops.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Waterstones.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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