Saturday, 11 March 2017

Help! I'm An Alien by Jo Franklin, reviewed by Pippa Goodhart

Ten year old Daniel, 'Oddbod' to his family, gets told by his mean big sister that he is an alien, who was adopted into the family as a baby ... and that revelation makes absolute sense.  The evidence is there! So starts this first person account of Daniel trying to get 'back' to planet Keppler 22b, helped by a geeky friend and a gross friend who themselves are also oddbods.

This is a wonderful, fast-paced, romp of slapstick humour, ideal in its short chapters and text breaks for lists and illustrations for less patient Junior School age readers.  But there's more to the story than the laughs.  Under that surface story is a truly moving one about what it is like to feel the odd one out.  I suspect that most children at some point flirt with the idea that they don't belong in their family, and maybe have been adopted.  And of course some truly are.  Those questions are explored within the safety of daftness, but are developed and resolved very pleasingly all the same.

Every KS 2 classroom or library should have this book on offer to its child book choosers.  (And there are two more stories about Daniel to come ...!)


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