Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Review: Alien Encounter

I've been pleasantly surprised by my son's fondness for the Just Grace series written by Charise Mericle Harper. Despite the blatantly girly covers (think flowers, tutus, etc.), he continues to enjoy the writing style and the story line. He has even noticed the author's particular trademarks: an affinity for lists, superpowers, and faces with wide-set eyes. I was thrilled, then, when I discovered her book series with a more boyish appeal, called Sasquatch and Aliens. Alien Encounter is book one in the series and, although Sean didn't like it quite as well as the Just Grace books, he did say he wants to continue with the series whenever Harper gets around to writing further books for it (this one just came out a year ago and I believe the second book in the series came out in February of this year).

The characters and antics of two unlikely friends, Morgan and Lewis, are sure to appeal to young boys between the ages of 7 and 10. Their initial meeting, based around a humorous incident with a pair of underpants (what boy doesn't like something having to do with underpants?) sets the story rolling. When they return to the location of their meeting (a tree in the woods) to reenact the hilarious event and document it with a photo, they are both startled by an alien encounter.

The story is full of locations with boy appeal - a forest, a clubhouse where you have to jump through a window in order to enter, a shed outfitted with mattresses beneath for gigantic bounce sessions, and an underground secret workshop. Add into that details like wounds, injuries, costumes, and food, and you are sure to rope in a reluctant reader. With drawings to supplement the tale, the book has the feel of a younger Diary of a Wimpy Kid fare. We are quickly becoming devoted fans of Charise Mericle Harper's graphic novels for kids. Hopefully, this series will go as far as the Just Grace books (now at 12 titles).

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