Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BONGO FISHING by Thacher Hurd


by Thacher Hurd & illustrated by Thacher Hurd

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9100-7
Publisher: Henry Holt

A creator of illustrated stories for younger audiences tries his hand at a novel, with indifferent results. Being a resident of Berkeley, Calif., young Jason is only moderately surprised when a spaceship that looks exactly like a battered 1960 Dodge Dart comes in for a hard landing and a stubby blue-skinned geezer named Sam emerges to cadge some ketchup to re-lube the star drive. On later visits Sam makes a huge mess in the kitchen concocting space fuel from chewing gum and Gatorade and, in what passes for a climax, is kidnapped by a crazed psychotherapist bent on using alien technology to revive the fortunes of Zimbovia, a former country in Eastern Europe. Jason manufactures a rescue, eludes pursuers from the Air Force’s Area 51 (thanks to a teleporter manufactured by “Deus ex Machina Productions”) and is last seen soaring into the black with Sam. Flashes of wit in the prose and the occasional small painted or photo-collage illustrations are too pale to ignite the main payload—particularly next to Mark Haddon’s spectacular Boom! (2010) and like extraterrestrial farces. (Science fiction/humor. 10-12)