It all started with a dream. Or should we say nightmare?
When ten-year-old Jackson gets attacked by an imaginary two-headed wolf during his sleeping hours, it’s almost as if it’s a prophecy of what’s about to happen to the world when he wakes up.
Birds start swooping out of the sky and attacking people for no apparent reason.
Normally friendly dogs become fiends.
Petting zoos become ‘biting’ zoos.
And farmers around the globe become terrified as animals turn on humans.
There’s obviously trouble in the air.
And yes, that’s precisely where it is.
Look up and look out! Because it’s never rained like this before.
In the wake of the real life pandemic that has swept the planet, comes the fictional account by esteemed author and teacher Elizabeth Battaglie.
Read her first children’s novel ASTRID-20 and you will wonder… It couldn’t really happen. Or could it?
What Arthur & I Thought:
Astrid-20 is a fantastical story about an unexpected natural phenomenon that hits earth with little to no warning. One day, everything is fine, and the next day animals that live outdoors, both wild and domesticated, start acting strangely. They start attacking anyone they see.
It becomes impossible to go outdoors without being dive-bombed by angry birds, and it is happening everywhere.
It draws parallels to Covid-19, with uncomfortable safety gear that is compulsory but not particularly nice to wear, and it affecting people all over the world.
Eventually, the cause of the outbreak is identified, and a possible solution is found. But it isn’t a save-all package, and the outbreak is destined to change everybody’s every day life for an unidentifiable time to come.
Arthur, aged 9, found the text engaging and easy to read. He liked that each chapter left you wanting to know more and kept you reading. He did make the connection to similarities between Astrid-20 and Covid-19, so I think the gentle reassurances in the ending were effective.
I think it is better suited to readers aged 9 and under, as the style is a little young for older readers, although the message behind it is universal.
It is a sweet, short, story of hope in uncertain times and a nice reminder that even if things can’t go back to how they were in the past, they aren’t going to be awful forever if we all look after each other.
My Rating: 3/5*
Linking up with Read With Me over on Mama Mummy Mum: