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Aliens on vacation

by Clete Barrett Smith


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 5-7-Instead of enjoying summer hanging out in the Florida sunshine, Scrub has been shipped clear out to Washington state to work at his grandmother's space-themed inn. He quickly realizes that the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast is not merely a clever name. Grandma's guests are actual aliens-from outer space-looking for a relaxing holiday on our quaint backwater planet. Grandma and Scrub try to provide appropriate Earth disguises for excursions, but it's tricky for tentacled, three-eyed, or 10-foot-tall travelers to pass through unobtrusively. The local townsfolk are leery of Grandma's New Age lifestyle and her unusual guests who don't speak English well and have odd customs and mannerisms. Scrub's new friend Amy seems particularly determined to solve the mystery of the inn's clientele-and, unfortunately, her dad is the town sheriff, who would relish an excuse to close Grandma down for good. When the growing suspicion boils over into mob action, it's up to Scrub to save his grandmother's secret-and her livelihood. This deceptively lighthearted tale includes plenty of chuckles. Scrub's chaotic campout with three rowdy juvenile aliens is especially funny. Each chapter is headed by an amusing illustration of a "Tourist"-often in Earth disguise. There is also a powerful message about tolerance and responsibility. The town's mounting prejudice and fear creates an atmosphere of conflict, and the final confrontation with the terrified crowd is genuinely tense. A good choice for young science fiction fans, with special appeal to middle-school boys.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

David better known to his friends as Scrub is a long way from his sunny Florida home the summer before his seventh-grade year, having been dumped by his ultrabusy parents in gloomy Washington State. He stays with his grandmother, Sunshine, who runs a dumpy inn in her huge home called the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast. Scrub soon realizes that not all is as it seems at the B and B when he accidentally walks into a restricted restroom that has a urinal on the ceiling. Also, his grandmother's guests struggle with the finer points of the English language and exhibit an otherworldly eccentricity. When a strange blue light from under his closet door wakes Scrub one night, he can no longer deny his suspicions about his grandmother and her borders. The plot is nothing new, but Smith, a teacher and screenplay writer, delivers a first novel about being a stranger in a strange land that many middle-schoolers will find funny and relatable. Slade adds a few goofy touches in the black-and-white spot art.--Anderson, Eri. Copyright 2010 Booklist



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