Cover Image: The Incredible Record Smashers

The Incredible Record Smashers

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After the success of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates last year, primary-teacher-turned-author Jenny Pearson is back with a new and hilarious tale of ordinary children on extra-ordinary adventures. 

Life isn't easy for Lucy. Her mum has depression and is difficult to care for, often being unwell for long periods that leave Lucy needing the help of a family friend. Lucy is great at fixing broken objects, but wishes more than anything that she knew how to fix her mum. It becomes clear that mum might need some time to stay at a place that can help her, and Lucy goes to stay with Aunty Sheila for a while.

Aunty Sheila loves car boot sales and is larger than life, always treating Lucy with kindness and a sense of fun, but life there is not the same as being with mum. With the help of friendly neighbour Sandesh, Lucy comes up with a way to make things right again. It's an ambitious plan that involves meeting an 80s pop icon who was once acquainted with Mum, appearing on a TV show and smashing a world record - but as far as Lucy is concerned, no aim is too high when it comes to making her mum happy again. What follows is a humorous romp as Lucy and Sandesh search for a world record to smash with a range of hilarious consequences.

The humour is perfect for Key Stage 2 and the story also explores the subject of parental mental health issues in an age-appropriate way. This is a smasher of a story; the author knows her audience extremely well and pitches both the comic and more serious elements at just the right level. The relationships that Lucy forms with Aunty Sheila and Sandesh are lovely, and demonstrate how - while nothing can replace the closeness that Lucy craves with her mum - the warmth and loyalty of others can make the world of difference during hard times. This strand of the plot may serve as a valuable encouragement to children affected by similar issues that reaching out for or accepting support from others is sometimes the very best course of action.

Featured as a Spring 2021 Ones to Watch:
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I didn't think it was possible that I would enjoy this as much as Freddie Yates, but actually it was even better. Intending to dip in briefly, I found myself absorbed and devoured the whole book in one glorious sitting. One minute laughing, and another crying, this really is an excellent book. Jenny Pearson strikes the balance between humour and empathy. Surely books such as these will help to create a generation of empathetic readers. An absolute triumph of a book from a total genius of an author who shows such a Rep understanding of how young people think. Fabulous.
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Yet another gem from the author of Freddie Yates. Heartwarming and hilarious, my heart was full as Lucy and her friend Sandesh came up with a scheme to make her mother happy, complete with a hair-raising adventure on the way. 

I love Jenny's writing style. She's engaging, she's pacy and we had great success with Freddie Yates - I can't wait to introduce Lucy to our young readers!
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Brilliantly endearing with a huge dollop of humour.
I absolutely loved Jenny's first book which I initially heard about at a chance meeting at Durham Waterstones. This book, as with the first, sensitively deals with serious issues, which in this instance is around mental health.
Lucy's mum is 'sad' and all Lucy wants to do is get her mum back to a happy place and 'fix her'. Lucy discovers that her mum once had an enormous crush on someone who is now a celebrity and the host of the new TV show, Record Smashers. If only she can reunite her mum with her long lost 'source of happiness' then all will be well. Cue Lucy's mission to be a record breaker and get the chance to meet the host and possibly reunite him with mum. Ably assisted by her friend Sandesh, Lucy begins her record breaking attempts. What follows is a sequence of mishaps and what ifs until they strike it lucky. With days to spare they send in their entry and plan their adventure to London. What follows is just wonderful. Jenny has once again created a beautifully endearing tale with huge dollops of humour. At points drawn to hoots of laughter and others quiet reflection and tears. A definite recommended read for 2021.
Thank you to Usbourne and NetGalley for the eARC
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Following the success of The Supermiraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, I was so looking forward to The Incredible Record Smashers from Jenny Pearson, and I was not disappointed! 
Lucy is excellent at fixing things, but the one thing she wishes more than anything that she could fix is her mum, who suffers from bouts of sadness, where Lucy stays with her Aunty Sheila. While staying with Aunty Sheila, Lucy hatches a plan with her best friend Sandesh to find her mum’s happiness, convinced that it lies with pop star Paul Castellini, who now hosts a popular tv show hunting for world record smashers! Lucy sets about finding a record she can break, with help from Sandesh and hilarious results! But will Paul Castellini be the one to fix Lucy’s mum? 
Every bit as witty and heart-wrenching as Freddie, Pearson has once again struck the perfect balance between a slapstick comedy adventure and an exploration of big emotions and important topics for a middle grade audience. I loved the scenes where Lucy and Sandesh tried hard to find a record to break and particularly loved the squirrel scene! A plethora of hilarious background characters support the action and adventure but I think my absolute favourite character was Aunty Sheila and her green hair scrunchie, particularly given her revelation right at the end! Brilliant! 
 It is SO important that children see themselves represented on a classroom bookshelf, but also that they have access to explore big feelings and topics such as mental health and depression, as they are so rarely spoken about with children. Pearson does not talk down to children about these vital issues, she instead wraps them in a witty story with relatable characters to give children a safe space to explore and feel. Her experience as a teacher shines through in her pitch, the friendship and dialogue between characters, and her understanding of her audience. 
This belongs on every upper KS2 bookshelf, and every Secondary school library. And while you’re there, pick up a copy of Freddie and add him too – I can’t WAIT to read more from Jenny! 
Thankyou to Usborne/Usborne Books at Home for my proof copy of this title.
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I loved Freddie Yates but I think I enjoyed this even more.

Lucy’s mum is suffering from depression and is unable to look after Lucy for a while, so she goes to stay with mum’s best friend, Aunty Sheila. Sheila’s neighbours have their grandson Sandesh staying for the summer so the two children become friends.

Lucy’s greatest desire is to make mum happy and when she finds an old photo of her mum with an ageing pop star she thinks this might be the answer. Getting in touch with him is harder than she imagined though. However when they discover that he is to be the host of a new TV show showcasing world record breakers, the pair set out on a mission to find a world record to break in order to get themselves onto the show.

The book has just the right amount of humour and emotion. The author tackles the subject of mental health sensitively and whilst it is the motivating factor in the children’s adventure, it is the characters themselves who take centre stage. I particularly loved Aunty Sheila who is endearing and bonkers in equal measure.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The Incredible Record Smashers was the first book I'd read by Jenny Pearson and it was so good that I immediately bought and read The Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates as soon as I had finished it.  Her writing is so brilliantly funny and full of feeling.
Lucy, who is great at fixing electronics, finds herself sent home from school for punching her class mate Billy in the face after he asks why she can't fix her mum.  With her mum's mental health struggles, it is not an easy life for Lucy, who ends up being taken in by Aunty Sheila.  She promises herself then that she will fix her mum, and not just to put an end to Auntie Sheila's terrible 'cooking'.  When Lucy finds a photo of her mum smiling and happy, with former pop-star and Record Smashers judge Paul Castellini, Lucy is determined to appear on his TV show so she can invite him round for tea.  The only problem is, she has to be able to break a Guinness World Record first but luckily, her next door neighbour is an expert in this area.
This heartwarming book is perfect for 9+ readers: the characters are incredibly well written; it deals with some big themes in a sensitive way; it is full of fun facts about crazy world records; it will make you laugh out loud.  I can't wait to read it to my class when it is out in March.
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In this fun, laugh out loud story follow the Lucy and her friend Sandesh as they hatch a crazy plan to try and get on the top TV show “Record Smashers” in the hope that by meeting the host will help fix Lucy’s mum.   As with plans made by children who don’t know the full story of the problem they are trying to solve, they get the wrong end of the stick.  This makes it even funnier, but very touching at the same time.  As the story unfolds we learn of the problem that Lucy is trying to fix for her mum. Readers are able to read and understand at different levels, but it is great introduction to discussions on mental health and depression in adults.  Hopefully children who identify with Lucy or Sandesh will realize that they are not alone with their problems and is dealt with in a sensitive way.  

As well as dealing with the sensitive topic of depression, the story is also a powerful one of friendships and family.  Lucy is so wrapped up in her own problems, that she does not see what a great friend Sandesh is being to her and that he also is suffering from lack of parental support as he is staying with his grandparents as his own parents are travelling for work.

A great book filled with humour and super interesting Guiness Book of Record facts.
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What a fantastic heart warming book.  Jenny Pearson has created a brilliant book to follow The Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates.  While Freddie Yates addresses the topic of grief, The Incredible Record Smashers addresses the seriousness of living with mental health issues in a sensitive manner while still having full-on laugh out loud moments.  Lucy’s mum has severe depression, and Lucy is desparate to ‘fix’ her.  Lucy’s mum needs to spend time away from home to help her get better, so Lucy moves in with her eccentric Auntie Sheila.  Simulated gas attacks and sleeping in a canoe are just some of the unconventional situations Lucy experiences while living with Auntie Sheila; but she is a reliable, empathetic adult; who helps Lucy to be herself.  
Lucy finds a photo of her mum with former popstar, and current Record Smashers judge Paul Castellini; and is determined to get the two of them to have dinner together to make her mum happy.  Lucy and her new friend Sandesh trial several hilarious challenges in a bid to find a way onto the tv show… they just need one new record-breaking challenge to take part.  All children love looking at The Guinness Book of World Records, and The Incredible Record Smashers includes plenty of different records, with tips, tricks and several “Do NOT Try This at Home” safety warnings, there is truly something for everyone.  Every chapter starts with a new fantastical record, which is great fun; and has you hunting out the next chapter! 
I thoroughly enjoyed the Incredible Record Smashers, and am so pleased to see mental health being discussed openly and accessibly for younger children to begin to understand.  A must read for any children in families that struggle with their own mental health.
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Jenny Pearson knows how to write a good children’s book. 
Such humour and great plots. Me and my son read this together and we were in fits of giggles through out. 
Definitely one for the bookshelf.
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Jenny Pearson has done it again with the second instalment in the Freddie Yates series. With bucketfuls of humour and interesting facts it kept myself and my son engaged throughout. 

Touches on sensitive matters in a tactful way, powerful book about family and friendship. We really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Having met the Jenny and her lovely family a few times its nice to be able to say that the author is lovely when her recommending books.

Thank you to publishers for ARC
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This is the story of Lucy, who is living with her Mum's friend Sheila as her mum is getting support for mental health. Lucy is desperate to make her mum happy and there begins an adventure with Sandesh to break a world record and meet the person she believes can make her mum happy. 
This is a wonderful story, touching and relevant whilst also being very funny. I loved the relationships throughout the story, bit particularly Lucy and Sandesh. I read this with my 9yo son, who said he didn't like it, he LOVED it!
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Jenny Pearson has done it again.  This book is full of laugh out loud moments, involving engaging characters you will be rooting for throughout the story but it also covers serious issues with sensitivity and subtlety.  

Lucy, the main character is joined by her friend Sandesh as they attempt to get onto the TV show Record Smashers.  Lucy only has one thing on her mind, and that is fixing her mum who has mental health issues.  Lucy has an amazing plan to help her mum and it involves Paul Castellini, former pop star and judge of Record Smashers.  Lucy and Sandesh go through many hilarious challenges in their bid to find a way to get onto the TV show.  There are a host of other characters in the book who add to the adventure in their own way.

What I like about this book is that the characters are likeable and Jenny Pearson doesn't shy away from the issues of mental health and how having a parent with mental health issues can affect a child.  She does this with skilful writing as the story is full of laughs as well and comedy is the main driver of the story.  

There are lots of similarities with Jenny's excellent debut novel 'The incredible journey of Freddie Yates' which also tackles serious issues with the same sensitivity and subtlety-in Freddie Yates it is grief that is explored, in Record Smashers it is mental health but both books also tackle the idea of family and friendship and what it actually means. Record Smashers has a familiar style to Freddie Yates and initially the plot development felt quite similar but there are some surprising plot twists in this story which were very entertaining and although both books are funny books covering serious issues, they are very much individual stories and both very rewarding reads.

As a teacher I think this could be a valuable book for the classroom.  I recognised some of the character traits that I saw in Lucy-I have seen in children who are living with parents that have mental health issues and this book could be a way to show them that they are not alone and remind them that there are people surrounding them that can help and support them.

Overall, I think this is an excellent book and can recommend it for aged 9+.  It will be out in March 2021 and is published by Usborne.  You can pre order it now.
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'Freddie Yates' was one of the standout children's books of 2020 and 'Record Smashers' will follow suit in 2021. 
Heartbreaking, hopeful, and record breakingly funny, it reminds us all that it's okay to not be okay and that happiness can be found in the least  expected places & moments. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to put googly eyes on a watermelon called Norriss and look up wether there's a world record for how many fruit pastilles you can eat in a minute....

Thank you to Usborne and NetGalley UK for the ebook to review.
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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. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Usborne Publishing for this incredible book!
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This book is a strong and powerful book about family and friendship, has lots of humour and full on interesting facts. This book is particularly good for children who may have a parent who suffers from depression or for helping children to understand depression in adults. I really enjoyed this book and recommend all books from this author.
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The Incredible Record Smashers is Jenny Pearson's second novel, following the brilliant, The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates.

Both of her books have lots of laugh out loud moments but what I love about her writing is that she also covers some big themes too.

Firstly, in Freddie Yates the story was a lot about Freddie finding his real Dad and the comedy adventures he and his friends had along the way, but interlaced with poignant moments as he coped with the loss of his beloved grandma.

Then again, with The Incredible Record Smashers, she sensitively introduces adult mental health issues to a younger audience. 

The wonderful, utterly ridiculous caper that Lucy and her great friend Sandesh embark on to help "fix" her mum is very funny and will provide readers with some full on laughs and a few snorts too!

In Freddie Yates, Pearson included wonderful facts to amuse and make the reader stop and think about them.
Likewise, in the Record Smashers we enjoy the beginning of each chapter with a fantastical record which are great fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Incredible Record Smashers and it's wonderful to see mental health openly written about in a gentle, accessible way for 9 year olds to begin their understanding of such an important issue. 

I'm looking forward to her next book already. 

#RECORDSMASHERS #netgalley #usbornefiction #fictionchampion #jennypearson #mentalhealthawareness
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This is hot on the heels of The Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates which was laugh out loud funny, endearing and a brilliant uplifting story.
The Incredible Record Smashers is a fantastic second book for Jenny Pearson.

When Lucy punches classmate Billy on the nose, she is sent home, unable to finish the last two days of year 6.  Billy, in my opinion, deserved the “fiery fists of fury” for asking why Lucy is unable to fix her mum.  Mum isn’t broken but just really sad and this time, Lucy must move in with Aunty Sheila so her mum can get some much needed support.  
Determined to make her Mum happy, Lucy launches a project for her and new friend Sandesh.  She is convinced the key to her mother’s happiness lies with the host of the new TV Show, Record Smashers.  All she needs is to find a talent or skill so she can get on TV.  Testing everything from head butting watermelons to pegs stuck to her face, Lucy is growing despondent until Sandesh throws a bean and Lucy catches it in her mouth.  With only days to spare, the pair apply to be on the show, send in a video and make plans to escape to London.
As a side story, Sandesh has bought a mobile phone from a car boot sale and is getting plenty of phone calls and texts from someone called Stan. Stan is ready for the details of the drop point for the AWP.  Deleting these and not paying them much attention will be cause for concern later in the story.
I can totally attest to the brilliance of this book....there are essentially two stories running together, both with fits of comedic hilarity and the trials and tribulations of new friendships.  Not to mention the reason for the story entirely, the effects of depression on a family.  There are some poignant moments where Lucy mourns the distance from her mum, where Aunty Sheila shows her what love looks like and when Sandesh proves why he is best friend material.  
In between sobs, I was giggling.  All throughout this book, I was entranced by Lucy and her over zealous plans to “fix” her mum only realising it was her happiness at stake as well.

I loved it so much! I cannot wait to see what Jenny Pearson writes next but if it is with the same heart and comedic spirit then it will be a huge success!
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I haven’t requested many reads from Net Galley recently: partly because I ‘ve been trying to reduce the size of my physical TBR pile and partly because many of the titles haven’t appealed. Up until now, that is.

Jenny Pearson’s debut book The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, was the stand out funny book of the year for me – a laugh-out-loud tale of a boy’s mission to find his biological father, packed full of slapstick humour and I was desperate to know if this would be written in a similar vein. While I did not find it as hysterically funny as the first book, I absolutely loved it because it is a much deeper read – a fabulously heart-warming story of how far one girl is prepared to go because of the deep love she feels for her mother.

That girl is Lucy, who when we meet her has just been excluded from school – an unfortunate event at any time in a child’s young life, but especially unfortunate at the very end of Year 6 with its traditional rituals and rites of passage. Lucy is not the type of child one might assume would find themselves in trouble but after being pushed too far by classmate Billy Griggs, she has punched him on the nose. The cause of this altercation is a smart alec remark in response to an end-of-year presentation Lucy has given. After sitting through her peers’ attempts – all of which she has considered to be of a poor standard with the exception of classmate Sandesh’s – Billy asks her why, when she demonstrates she has a clear talent for fixing things, she has been unable to ‘fix’ her mother, Lily.

Collected from school by Auntie Sheila, Lucy vows to herself on the way home that she will fix her mum – she just needs to ‘figure out how’. Sadly, on returning home, it is clear that Lily is very unwell and when Sheila gently asks if she needs help she replies: ‘Yes, I think I’d really like that,’ before apologetically telling Lucy she is: ‘ever so broken.’ And so, at the start of the summer holidays, Lucy finds herself staying at Auntie Sheila’s; not for the first time.

After a surprise pretend ‘gas attack’ from catastrophiser Sheila, Lucy is further taken aback by the revelation that Sandesh has been invited round for a ‘play date’ by her temporary guardian since his grandparents, with whom he is staying, are neighbours of hers. Initially irritated by this, Lucy and Sandesh soon become firm friends and it is to him that she turns in her attempts to fix her mother after discovering a photo of Lily with singer Paul Castellini bearing the message: ‘You are my happiness.’ For Mr Castellini is one of the judges on reality show Record Smashers – a programme where members of the public attempt to break records in order to win their 15 minutes of fame and Lucy believes that by reuniting the two adults, Lily’s restoration to true happiness is bound to be the outcome.

Having decided to get themselves onto the show, it only remains to find a record to break and Lucy and Sandesh together try out various things before settling on one involving kumquats, if only because nobody has set a record up until now involving the small citrus fruit. As their opportunity to shine and impress the crooner approaches, will Lucy’s tactics bring about the result she seeks and will she and Sandesh get to the bottom of the strange messages he is receiving on a second-hand mobile phone bought at a car boot sale?

In common with the superb Boy Under Water by Adam Baron, this book tackles the subject of a breakdown in parental mental health in an extremely sensitive and age-appropriate way but this read balances the seriousness of that with glorious moments of humour. It is much to the credit of Jenny Pearson that she has got that balance absolutely spot on – had this been filled with the same level of farcical happenings as Freddie Yates, this would’ve been a much poorer read. Don’t get me wrong – in saying this I do not mean that this is in any way second best to Jenny’s first book; it is different and that is a good thing – a sibling rather than a twin.

With the inclusion of Auntie Sheila and all of her wonderful eccentricities, Lucy has a guardian fighting in her corner who is empathetic but not overly so. Many children would adore to have a significant adult in their lives with whom they can be themselves and have fun in the way that Lucy does – one who is not nagging about homework and tidy bedrooms but whose idea of an appropriate place for her young guest to lay her head is a sleeping bag in a canoe. Throughout the book, it is Sheila who very often provides the humour with what many children will consider to be her unconventional appearance and unusual lifestyle choices. With so many guardians in books portrayed as unsympathetic characters, it is refreshing to have one who is utterly reliable without being too good to be true.

Sandesh also has a vital role to play in the story. While he is totally supportive of Lucy, she is so absorbed by her mission to free her mother from the constraints of her depression that she does not recognise that he too is lacking in parental attention while he stays with his grandparents. Although many children may not recognise that in any of their own friendships there is often a disparity – one child gives while the other is only too happy to take – they should recognise it here and I think if this were to be used as a class reader, this would be a perfect starting point to spark some discussions about friendships – especially in year 6 ahead of transition to high school – as well as talking about the importance of caring for our mental health.

My only disappointment with this read is that the illustrations by Erica Salcedo promised on the cover have yet to be included but this is only a very minor disappointment and one that will be very easily rectified by my purchasing a copy when this is published on March 4th next year. This is definitely a book I want to include on my little library shelf – a fabulously entertaining story with the potential for a great deal of discussion with my class and one most worthy of a ‘smashing’ 5 out of 5 stars.

As always, enormous thanks must go to both Net Galley and to Usborne Children’s Books for allowing me to read and review this ahead of publication.
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