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Early/Young Readers, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Humor, LOVELACE Nominee 2015-16, Read-Aloud Suggestions

BLAST OFF! ALIEN IN MY POCKET #1 by Nate Ball…2015-16 LOVELACE Nominee Division I

alien in my pocket

We meet Zack, the main character, after he has fallen asleep at his desk studying for the first science quiz of his 4th Grade career.  He spots a shooting star and quickly wishes:

1) to make the travel baseball team

2) to get better grades; and

3) to avoid detention all year

After making his wish Zack realizes the shooting star is NOT fading.  It’s getting bigger.  And coming closer!

Zack is thrilled when his “shooting star” turns out to be a spaceship containing a small, blue alien named Amp from the planet Erde. Until, that is, Amp informs him there is an Erde attack force ready to invade Earth.  If Amp and Zack can’t fix Amp’s ship and get him home in time to stop the invasion Earth and Erde will be at war.

Oh–and Amp figures they need to get this done by 4:40 pm the following afternoon.

Blast Off! has some genius scenes of slapstick humor sprinkled throughout the story.  Zack is likeable and his neighbor and sort-of friend, Olivia, shows a lot of promise as a wise-cracking sidekick.

This first book in the Alien in My Pocket series has silliness and science exploding from its pages.  This is a perfect choice for a 6-9 year-old-reader who loves science–particularly space and rockets.  The book includes directions for building your own rocket after reading about Zack, Olivia and Amp’s attempts (both failures and successes). The combination of humor and hands-on interactive ideas make Blast Off! a great companion to a classroom science unit about space travel or mechanics of rocketry.

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