US book review magazine, Kirkus, has read and rated book one in the Penpals on Pluto series by Lou Treleaven;
A pair of grade school pen pals exchange a series of amusing letters between Earth and Pluto.
Jon lives in England. His very creative teacher has assigned her students pen pals, with all of the letters to be written on paper, a novel concept in the 24th century. Straxi, his pen pal, is a human girl who lives with her family on odoriferous Pluto. She describes to Jon how the president of the planet has decided to destroy all the very stinky vomblefruit trees in an effort to improve Pluto and boost tourism. Before that can happen, she sends Jon a vomblefruit that his mother attempts to keep alive in her greenhouse. It’s only after all the trees are dead that people on Pluto discover that they were critical to the ecosystem; everything else begins to falter, too, making the planet almost uninhabitable. After Jon sends back the seed from his vomblefruit to begin to restore the lost trees, Pluto is saved and the two children become celebrities. Presented in large “handwritten” text on faux lined paper and accompanied by numerous amusing, small illustrations the protagonists have drawn on their letters, this quick read is both highly imaginative and entertaining, with a useful embedded environmental message. Although character development is minimal, it’s the novel ideas and inventive presentation that shine. Humans depicted present white.
A fun and fanciful exploration of life in the future.