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Review of The True Meaning of Smekday

rex_true meaning of smekdayThe True Meaning of Smekday
by Adam Rex; illus. by the author
Intermediate     Hyperion     426 pp.
10/07     978-0-7868-4900-0     $16.99

What’s an eleven-year-old girl to do when the same aliens — the Boov — who sucked up her mom “like soda” into their spaceship announce (after conquering the whole planet) that all Americans must relocate to Florida? Go along to get along? Not Gratuity “Tip” Tucci. Instead, Rex’s spunky protagonist learns how to drive, packs up the Chevy, grabs her cat, and heads off to find her mother. Along the way, Tip meets a Boov mechanic named J.Lo, who soups up her hatchback with extraterrestrial parts, then hitches a ride. Turns out J.Lo himself is on the run after mistakenly advertising the planet’s whereabouts to yet another alien species. Quite clever and highly entertaining, Rex’s sci-fi/road-trip amalgam is loosely structured as a personal essay written by Tip two years after the Boov invasion. Now and then, readers hit a draggy stretch, but Rex holds interest with Tip and J.Lo’s growing friendship and a sense of humor that calls Daniel Pinkwater to mind. (“‘I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with . . . G.’ ‘Sausages,’ guessed J.Lo.”) Black-and-white illustrations — a combination of Tip’s Polaroid snapshots, J.Lo’s comic-book panels, and additional drawings — capture the characters’ escapades and shed light on Boov history.

From the November/December 2007 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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About Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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