With summer winding down and school approaching, some kids are probably already thinking up excuses for not doing their homework. How’s this: “Aliens Ate My Homework!”
In Rod Allbright’s case, that happens to be true. Especially true, you might say, because a certain incident with a cookie has left him unable to lie. He’s no boy who cried alien.
So what do you do when a spaceship crashes into your science volcano, bearing a troop of aliens looking for an intergalactic criminal? Well, first of all, “Never shrug while carrying a trigger-happy, paranoid alien on your shoulder.” Second, unless you want to be extradited to a foreign planet for obstructing justice, you lend them a hand until they fix their ship.
Rod, however, already has his hands full. His father sends no child support, his little brother and sister are cute but too curious, and his face is threatened by the reigning school bullies. Now he has to worry about the math-munching aliens in his desk–alias the coolest action figures around. How does someone who can’t lie catch a criminal mastermind–especially when that mastermind has kidnapped his brother and sister?
Bruce Coville’s books are always part of my suggestions for beginning science fiction. Coville’s aliens are the wittiest and wisest I’ve ever met. Whether they’re little dudes resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger or burping plant forms, they all have their own quirks and personalities and stories–at least the parts that aren’t classified. Their sarcasm and translations of Earth idioms make me laugh every time, and their insights into our planet are spot on. I for one wouldn’t have minded an alien diplomat explaining fractions in my ear during math class. (But then there’s that whole “risk of getting vaporized by an alien” thing, so.)
My Teacher Flunked the Planet (Note: this one gets a little heavy)