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Author: Hurd, Thacher
Berkeley, California, middle-schooler Jason has a fun close encounter when Sam, a bluish alien, arrives in a 1960 Dodge Dart spaceship and invites Jason to go fishing.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 142866
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 52985
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/10)
School Library Journal (02/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (04/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2011 Jason is innocently walking home when it happens: a UFO whizzes overhead and crash-lands in a nearby vacant lot. Investigating, Jason is startled to see that the space craft is a 1960 Dodge Dart driven by a grandfatherly, blue-skinned midget space alien named Sam. Turns out he is the owner of Sam’s Intergalactic Garage and had taken the Dart out for a spin to test its new turbo drive when it conked out. Next stop: earth. So Jason and Sam bond; they go bongo fishing in the South Pleiades; they are joined by Sam’s wife, Edna, on the next earth visit; Jason encounters a mysterious “therapist” with the unlikely name of Dr. Effrem Zimburger; and . . . well, adventures ensue in author-illustrator Hurd’s amiable sci-fi novel. Along with a handful of other illustrative debris throughout, small-sized digital artwork opens each chapter. Though a bit short in the excitement department, this is long in zaniness, and Sam and Edna are definitely keepers. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2011 Gr 4–7—This lighthearted tale begins when a boy named Jason meets Sam, a friendly blue alien who drives a spaceship that resembles a 1960 Dodge Dart. Though he's from the Pleiades star cluster, Sam is clearly familiar with American culture: he wears purple high tops, loves glazed doughnuts, and listens to Count Basie on the interstellar radio system. Jason takes an outer-space trip with Sam and his wife (a huge Elvis fan) that's filled with awesome sights and folksy, sometimes humorous dialogue. The funniest moments come through twists of Earth conventions, as when a phone recording tells Jason that "you must dial four hundred twenty-six ones" when trying to contact another universe. Intriguing gadgets and amusing descriptions of alien technology add to the fun, as do the lively illustrations. Brief interludes revealing that a mysterious villain is keeping tabs on Jason are less successful. When the evil Dr. Zimburger finally appears in the second half of the book, he's too silly and hapless to be much of a threat. This results in a lack of tension that prevents the book from being totally involving, especially since Jason isn't a particularly memorable protagonist. His experiences are action-packed, but his thoughts and responses are generally unremarkable. Sam and his wife are delightfully atypical aliens, though, and the moments of humor are consistently strong throughout, making this an acceptable choice for readers looking for light science fiction.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2011 Living in Berkeley, California, Jason Jameson has met plenty of strange characters, but when a slightly blue, vertically challenged creature in what can only be described as a flying 1960 Dodge Dart crashes near his house, even Jason is a bit perplexed. Fortunately, Sam, the aforementioned creature, comes in peace, and the two become fast friends as Jason helps Sam hunt down the necessary Earthly ingredients-marshmallows, ketchup, and bubble gum-to refuel his ship and get him back on the intergalactic track. Not one to forget a favor, Sam returns often to visit Jason, even going so far as taking the kid bongo fishing on planet Zorcovado and introducing him to his wife, Edna, and her delicious cooking. Unbeknownst to the pals, however, they are being watched by the evil Dr. Zimburger, who eventually kidnaps Sam, forcing Jason and Edna to come to the rescue. Plausibility is not necessarily a requirement in the sci-fi genre, but even novice fans expect a certain amount of logic, and the trajectory here depends too much on contrived circumstances and questionable motivations. Nonetheless, Jason and Sam are likable guys-or whatever Sam is-and their camaraderie is both jovial and appealing, especially in light of Jason’s apparent loner status. This doesn’t quite live up to the quirky humor of Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday (BCCB 2/08) or the outlandish adventure in Mark Teague’s The Doom Machine (BCCB 1/10), but readers looking for a zany intergalactic adventure will find this a serviceable pit stop. KQG - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.