It’s up to two children, a dog, and a pumpkin-shaped alien to save the world in this debut sci-fi comedy for kids.
Chuck is a laid-back prankster with no head for math, and he sees Kia, who has an IQ of 170, as an insufferable know-it-all. They’re neighbors but not friends, until one day, they both see a whale floating in the sky overhead. It turns out to be a disguised spaceship belonging to Oops, a creature called a “gurgle” from another dimension. This heroic gurgle turns out to need their help saving the Earth from the groinks, a race of green, piglike aliens who are furious about their portrayal in the “Angry Birds” video game. Together with Chuck’s dog, Floppy, the boys climb aboard the camouflaged “spitter” craft, which is fueled by beer, and begin hopping across the galaxy; along the way, they meet dancing penguins, aliens called Cerebums who have brains in their rear ends, and, of course, the aforementioned groinks. They face the dangers of black holes, “brainmashers,” “peabrainers,” and the wrath of Oops’ overbearing overseers, the Department of Space-time for Analysing and Improving Reality, aka DESPAIR. Along the way, the four unlikely teammates learn to appreciate one another’s strengths and use their talents for the good of the world. This book is sprinkled throughout with whimsical humor and will appeal to young children who can get a laugh out of the idea of aliens like the Cerebums, but it also contains several references to high-end mathematics and literature—sometimes with explanatory footnotes. As absurd as the story’s fictional universe is, it’s well-built and always follows a certain kind of Lewis Carroll–like logic. The author even includes translations for occasional “Gurglese” phrases, such as “Ooee bree gurr?” (“Can I jump on your head?”) The premise may be too silly for older kids, and the humor descends to rather crude levels on occasion, but overall, this book is the perfect galactic romp for the intelligent, discriminating 12-year-old.
A fun, lighthearted tour around an infinitely goofy universe.