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Review of Alien Encounter

harper_alien encounterAlien Encounter [Sasquatch and Aliens]
by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author
Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    205 pp.
4/14    978-0-8050-9621-7    $12.99    g

Minutes after fourth graders Morgan and Lewis meet for the first time (underpants are involved), they share an alien sighting. This is obviously a solid basis for friendship, because they are practically inseparable in the days that follow, days in which they have a fabulous time jumping off shed roofs, playing with duct tape, being almost famous, and investigating the extra-terrestrial mystery. Morgan, our lively storyteller, fills us in with text, acrostics, lists, diagrams, and a wealth of endearingly ugly line drawings. In this multi-media narrative we get harum-scarum foreground action and little hints as to the challenges of being nine. Morgan muses on showing a friend one’s room for the first time: “You want to show him your stuff, but at the same time you don’t want him to see something embarrassing and think you’re lame.” A quartet of labeled drawings shows us what this “something” could be: “your blankie / teddy bear mobile / baby toy / love notes from your mom.” This book is the first of a series, and the seeds of its sequel are firmly sown, the alien’s identity barely solved when a sasquatch turns up. It’s all funny and sweet and never too clever.

From the March/April 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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