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Rod Allbright returns for his second space romp (after Aliens Ate My Homework, 1993) with the crew of the spaceship Ferkel. He and his annoying cousin, Elspeth, are captured by a painfully ugly space-giant, Smorkus Flinders, who kidnaps them into another dimension and uses them as bait to trap Grakker, the captain of the Ferkel and a Galactic Patrol good guy. Grakker and his crew come to Rod's rescue, but they total the Ferkel in their escape and are forced to remain in Dimension X and seek the help of the local fauna and flora. (Don't laugh; some of the flora is pretty intelligent.) It's a good thing they do because, while they're there, they must save their own universe from destruction by Smorkus and his evil cronies. Rod apprentices himself to the warrior Tar Gibbons and, between his training and the inedible food he gets at Smorkus's place, this space jaunt starts looking like a spa vacation for our pudgy hero. Tar prepares to fight Smorkus, but at the last moment his apprentice must step in for him—they enlarge Rod for the fight—and in a scene worthy of ``American Gladiators'' Rod triumphs over his enemy. He also learns that his father, who ran out on Rod's mother three years ago, is not altogether a human being—which makes Rod himself half-alien. In the epilogue, Rod sets up for his next adventure: the rescue of his father. Hilarious antics with endearing aliens. Coville (Oddly Enough, below) is at the top of his weird, wonderful form. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-671-89072-7

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise.

A trip to the Love Love Angel Kitty World theme park (“The Most Super Incredibly Happy Place on Earth!”) turns out to be an exercise in lowered expectations…to say the least.

When Uncle Murray wins a pair of free passes it seems at first like a dream come true—at least for Kitty, whose collection of Love Love Kitty merch ranges from branded underwear to a pink chainsaw. But the whole trip turns into a series of crises beginning with the (as it turns out) insuperable challenge of getting a cat onto an airplane, followed by the twin discoveries that the hotel room doesn’t come with a litter box and that the park doesn’t allow cats. Even kindhearted Uncle Murray finds his patience, not to say sanity, tested by extreme sticker shock in the park’s gift shop and repeated exposures to Kitty World’s literally nauseating theme song (notation included). He is not happy. Fortunately, the whole cloying enterprise being a fiendish plot to make people so sick of cats that they’ll pick poultry as favorite pets instead, the revelation of Kitty’s feline identity puts the all-chicken staff to flight and leaves the financial coffers plucked. Uncle Murray’s White, dumpy, middle-aged figure is virtually the only human one among an otherwise all-animal cast in Bruel’s big, rapidly sequenced, and properly comical cartoon panels.

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise. (Graphic satire. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20808-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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