ALIEN ENCOUNTER by Charise Mericle Harper


From the "Sasquatch and Aliens" series, volume 1
Age Range: 8 - 11
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In this stretched-out series opener, two lads do little more than hang out for chapter after chapter between encounters with (putatively) an almond-eyed alien and a sasquatch while the author hints at hidden doings.

Morgan first meets manic new buddy Lewis when the latter is snagged on a high tree branch by his underwear (“That’s a killer wedgie”). The 9-year-old narrator continues in a mix of chatty prose, comical line drawings, lists and acrostics to introduce his (seemingly) typical family and small town. Highlights are provided first by a terrifying brush with an (apparent) extraterrestrial and then a later glimpse of a big, furry figure. In between the sightings, Morgan joins Lewis, who has just moved with his (supposed) parents into a fixer-upper motel down the road, in chewing over their experiences and poking mild fun at the foibles of their older and younger sibs. Meanwhile, Harper folds in such oddball discoveries as the motel’s stolen road sign buried deep in the woods and a secretive neighbor’s surprisingly elaborate underground workshop. Clues or red herrings? Only future episodes will tell.

Lots of tantalizing setup plus not quite enough plot fails to equal a story that stands on its own. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 8th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9621-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014


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