Intrepid readers who don’t mind slipping their hands into places without looking will get what they deserve from this backyard hunt for aliens.
Young Zak is sure that a spaceship has landed in his garden, so out into the night he goes to feel around, followed by a gaggle of skeptical friends wearing rubber alien masks. Mechanically reproducing a trick used to good effect in Is That You, Wolf? (2012) and with less success in sequels ever since, every other spread features a glued-on paper pocket with the legend: “Slide your hand in if you dare… / Alien may be lurking so BEWARE!” Inside each pocket is a patch of sticky tape, knobby plastic or some other textured material that unconvincingly suggests eyeballs, wrinkly skin, dribble or another supposedly scream-worthy substance. Despite broad prompts from both the narrative and the cartoon illustrations, few will be fooled—or, for that matter, startled when a slobbery green pop-up alien leaps out as the last spread is opened.
A labored effort to squeeze a little more juice from a once-fresh gimmick. (Novelty. 5-7)