CAN OF WORMS by Kathy Mackel


Age Range: 10 - 12
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A misfit seventh grader’s half-serious conviction that he’s an alien proves well-founded in this wild, slime-and-monster-filled romp from Mackel (A Season Of Comebacks, 1997). The tales Mike spins to a rapt audience of younger neighbors, about hideous reptilian invaders called Jongs, come home to roost when, after a horribly embarrassing computer prank, he constructs a powerful transmitter out of household electronics and beams a plea for help into the night sky. Suddenly, he’s besieged by nonhuman “rescuers,” from a sluglike Bom, eager to open a raft of personal injury suits on Mike’s behalf, to Barnabus, an entity-rights worker from (where else?) Sirius. Thinking better of his original impulse, Mike fends them off until, to his dismay and elation, an actual Jong swoops down, intending to add him and any other convenient beings to its personal zoo. Mike contrives to defeat the Jong and release its menagerie, setting the stage for an unforgettable Halloween parade through town. In the end, despite proof that his stories are actually suppressed memories, Mike elects to stay on Earth with family and friends. Fans of such escapades as Gene De Weese’s Black Suits from Outer Space (1989), Jonathan Etra and Stephanie Spinner’s Aliens For Breakfast (1988) and Mel Gilden’s Pumpkins of Time (1994) will welcome this with open arms, tentacles, and pseudopods. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-380-97681-1
Page count: 146pp
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999


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