Japanese-American Tyler Sato’s all-clown 11th-birthday party is only the beginning of his trials.
When astronomers decide the star his cousins in Japan have named after him is actually a meteor hurtling toward the Earth, Ty can do without the notoriety—not to mention the world-wide panic. When it turns out to be a spaceship, he thinks his namesake celestial body is cool. When a misunderstanding on the part of the aliens leads them to think Ty is the world’s greatest kid athlete, the kid-leader of the Mrendarian team, M’Frozza, drafts Ty to choose and then lead a team for Earth. Perfidy on the part of adult aliens prompts a challenge from another alien race before the team has a chance to train; can Ty prevail? The actual laughs are few and far between in this at-the-speed-of-molasses space farce. Fishbone’s first reads like two distinct novels glued end-to-end and wears its multicultural message on its sleeve. Chock full of unnecessary scenes and silly details (will today's middle-graders really find the conscious evocation of Mork from Ork’s "nanu-nanu" catchphrase funny?), this could have benefited from some heavy editing.Alas, this space shot never achieves escape velocity. (Science fiction/humor. 8-11)