In this first children’s book of a series, a Martian and a pair of earthling twins work to foil a gang of bank robbers.
Mikkee is a young Martian man who works hard at his planet’s Ministry of Science’s department for intergalactic studies. To reward his contributions, the Council of Elders sends him to Earth to combine his studies with a vacation. He’ll help earthlings as needed and disguise himself to join in their activities. Somewhere in the United Kingdom, it’s summertime, and the Watson siblings, William and Gillian—“Billy” and “Jilly,” for short—are playing behind their house. Although they’re twins, they’re opposites when it comes to tidiness, as Billy is neat and Jilly is messy. Shortly after they spot Mikkee’s spaceship touching down nearby, they meet the alien, who’s changed his natural appearance—silver-gray skin, no teeth, and no ears—to resemble Billy’s, but with fair hair rather than brown. He asks the twins to keep his secret, which they gladly agree to do. Later, Mikkee hypnotizes the neighbors into believing that he’s a visiting nephew. The next day, the three learn that a trio of masked men just robbed a bank. Using the Martian’s abilities and some determination, they track down the criminals and make sure that justice is done. Debut author Locke presents a simple story in which every difficulty is easily resolved by Mikkee’s near-magical powers, which he doesn’t even use to their fullest extent. The threesome take a bus, for example, to get closer to the robbers, although it’s established that Mikkee can transport them all instantaneously—and can also track the robbers’ movements. Still, some readers may appreciate the tale’s naïve quality, which can be rather sweet, as when the Martian thoughtfully shields his hidden spaceship “to stop animals and birds from crashing into it and hurting themselves.” Mild humor also adds to the story, as when Mikkee uses his abilities to stick a capital “L,” signifying a novice driver in the U.K., on the back of a rude bus driver’s jacket.
Old-fashioned, uncomplicated, and cozy science fiction for young readers.