Saturday, September 17, 2011
Book Review: Aliens Ate My Homework, by Bruce Coville (Aladdin, 1993)
Recommended for ages 9-12
Sixth-grader Rod Albright, better known as Rod the Clod among his classmates, is a target for the two bullies at school and the go-to babysitter for his toddler twin brother and sister at home. One day, while working on a science project for school, a miniature alien spaceship crashes into his window, and Rod is commandeered into helping the alien crew in their search for BKR, an intergalactic criminal infamous for his cruelty - and who just happens to be hiding out in Rod's neighborhood. Can Rod, who is incapable of lying, keep his alien visitors a secret and help them succeed in their mission while getting his science project done on time?
Told from Rod's point of view, Aliens Ate My Homework is a fun read for kids ages 9-12. As the first book in a four-book series, Coville sets up the story line and introduces the reader to a full cast of characters: Rod, Thing One and Thing Two, the toddler twins, their mother, the crew of the Ferkel, and BKR, the intergalactic villian. The crew of the Ferkel is a diverse group of aliens, illustrating that diversity is welcome in all parts of the universe; Grakker, the Ferkel's captain, is a borderline hostile military man, but the crew and Rod all learn how to work with him - and vice versa. BKR, the criminal wanted across the galaxy, is guilty of cruelty. As Madame Pong, the ambassador on the Ferkel, says, "Millions have wept." There are lessons to be learned within Coville's bright narrative - different personalities and people and capable of working together; cruelty is wrong; and every being, no matter how powerful or how small, needs help.
Aliens Ate My Homework is the first in Bruce Coville's 4-book series, Rod Albright's Alien Adventures; the other books in the series are I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X; The Search for Snout; and Aliens Stole My Body. The author's webpage has a section devoted to the series at http://www.brucecoville.com/books.asp?gid=6. Coville's website also offers printable door hangers and bookmarks, crossword puzzles, and information about all of Coville's books.