The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble, by L. M. Moriarty

Nicola Berry had a problem.
She needed to make a long-distance phone call.
An extremely long-distance phone call.
She needed to ring someone who lived on another planet.
Unfortunately, whenever Nicola’s mother opened the phone bill lately, she made a sound like she had a fishbone stuck n her throat. If an intergalactic phone call appeared on the bill she might stop breathing altogether.

Nicola pondered her problem while she sliced a banana to put on top of her breakfast cereal. The house was still and silent. A shaft of summer sunlight was creeping its way across the kitchen floor. It was early Saturday morning and her brother and parents were still sound asleep. they wouldn’t be up for hours, when they would appear rubbing their eyes and saying things like, ‘You’re up already? Why?

Nicola and her fellow Space Brigaders Katie, Tyler, Sean and Greta have just finished saving the world. But time doesn’t stand still and already they have another request. This one is from Enrico, Commander in Chief of Shobble asking for their help with ‘danger of an unusual kind. Nicola is keen for another adventure. And Shobble makes the best chocolate in the universe. Nicola assembles her crew and they head straight to Shobble, stopping only to collect their Globagaskarian friend and final crew member Shimlara. They are a new team and still refining their individual roles but work well together. At least their mission seems simple and straightforward. Shimlara’s mum knows the leader of Shobble, and remembers him as a charming man. What could go wrong?

The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble is the second in the Space Brigade series, but stands alone quite comfortably. There are references to the first mission sprinkled throughout, enough to tempt a reader to seek it out. Each of the crew has brought along a ‘tool’ and although some of their tools seem unusual, each is necessary for their mission to succeed…just as each character brings their own skills to the team. Nicola is their leader but doesn’t always feel worthy of the role. This is especially the case when she meets another leader but they soon find a way to work together. Ingenuity and an appreciation of the skills of others are necessary in reaching their goal. There are strong themes of cooperation and friendship throughout.

Recommended for mid-upper primary readers.

The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble

The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble, L M Moriarty
Pan Macmillan 2009
ISBN: 9780330424707

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author