After catching the wrong bus, young Bud finds himself at a school that’s out of this world—literally.
On what is to be his first day at his new school, Bud accidentally finds himself on a spaceship school bus on the way to the Cosmos Academy, where Earthlings are the most feared creatures in the galaxy. He is quickly befriended by lovable green alien computer geek Gort McGortGort. At the Academy, it is quickly apparent that the current administration is up to no good. They are suspicious of Bud, who is being passed off as a Tenarian, an alien race that excels at ZeroBall. Bud, desperate to get home, and Gort devise a plan to hitch a ride back to Earth by winning the ZeroBall tournament, a near-impossible feat. The classic underdogs must fight their way against bullies both young and old—a well-trod storyline. Fearing adds appealing touches, such as the Transchip, a nod to Douglas Adams’ Babel Fish, which makes all languages understandable, or the Blip, a handheld computer that’s “a map, runs homework modules...has video chat, staff directory...” Couple this with vibrant cartoon art and a surprise happy ending for an easy, feel-good read.
A fun, intergalactic buddy story that may not reinvent the wheel—or the UFO—but works well here, nonetheless. (Graphic science fiction. 9-12)