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An Evening with Alastair Sawday

20th October, 2021, Steyning Cricket Club

The Infinite

The Infinite by Patience Agbabi. Canongate £7.99

The Infinite is the first children’s novel by Nigerian-born poet Patience Agbabi, and it’s a thoroughly entertaining time travel eco-adventure, perfect for ages 9-13.

Elle Bibi Imbele is a ‘Leapling’ – she was born on 29th February of a leap year. Moreover, she possesses ‘The Gift’ – the amazing ability to leap through time! But she is also autistic, is bullied at school, and is struggling to learn control of her ‘gift’. On her 12th birthday, she and other Gifted Leaplings from her special academy perform a jump through time to the Time Squad Centre, Year 2048. In this future world, which is vegan and carbon neutral, the Time Squad are Guardians of Chronology who stop time-criminals from changing the course of eco-history… but it soon becomes clear that all is not well; Leaplings have been disappearing, and the Time Squad Guardians are behaving suspiciously. Elle and her best friend Big Ben become mixed up in an extraordinary adventure, trying to track down missing Leaplings and get to the bottom of a devious plot.

This is a fast-paced, enjoyable and twisty story, enlivened by the engagingly quirky characters of Elle, Big Ben, and Elle’s Nigerian Grandma. Patience Agbabi cleverly incorporates the two heroes’ autistic traits and obsessions into the plotline, which ultimately play a huge part in saving the day!