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GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH by Barbara Kerley Kirkus Star


by Barbara Kerley

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-439-80203-2
Publisher: Scholastic

The upcoming Voyager 2 space probe sparks 12-year-old Theo’s discoveries about life on earth in 1977. His teacher, Mr. Meyer, decides that the class should put together a golden record for the Voyager to share with any aliens encountered. Each kid in the class has to contribute the sounds of what they consider the best thing on earth. Theo’s close family consists of a busy mother, his older sister Janet and grandmother JeeBee, who lives nearby in their Virginia suburb. The absence of his father begins to ache like a sore tooth, and Theo’s exploration of his world, as he tries to figure out his contribution, gradually discovers inconsistencies and strange messages that he’s never really put into a logical sequence before. Finding letters from Vietnam written by his dad years earlier, Theo proves capable of probes that will lead him to the truth. Kerley’s structure is in alternating transcripts of a recording for an unknown reader, and a third-person account of Theo’s life with various sections labeled with geographic place names from the moon. The space capsule assignment reveals much about earthlings, and Mr. Meyer’s insightful questioning brings a depth and universality to what is essentially one family’s struggle with the past. (Fiction. 10-14)