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Alien Superstar, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Alien Superstar, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Alien navigates Hollywood in funny, fast-paced series start.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Amid pop culture references, Buddy learns more "human" things: to navigate a completely new home, trust new friends, and try to figure out a new life.

Positive Messages

Buddy sees right away that people are good and will help each other without expecting anything in return.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cassidy's mom is overbearing but helpful, and the adults and other actors are genuinely kind to Buddy and each other.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alien Superstar, by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, uses humor and intergalactic stories to convey a simple message: Despite our outer differences, we're all the same inside. With a fast-moving plot and tons of engaging illustrations Buddy C. Burger navigates Hollywood, a place almost as alien as his home planet. Despite trouble figuring out what's real and what's a costume -- and funny flubs when he tries to learn casual conversation -- Buddy discovers his new home is filled with goodhearted friends and the occasional arrogant teen heartthrob. His new friend Cassidy's mom is obsessed with her daughter's career and weight management, and there's a nice message about what's healthy for body and mind.

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What's the story?

In ALIEN SUPERSTAR, after crash-landing his spaceship in Hollywood, Buddy C. Burger is lost, alone, hungry -- and apparently magnetic on camera. Surrounded by aspiring actors, Buddy gets a shot at the big time in a casting call for a show about misfit aliens. But no one knows the truth: His costume is part of who he is and doesn't come off at the end of the day. When his friend and co-star Cassidy discovers his secret, she doesn’t have time to be afraid of him. They're too busy working on the bigger problem, that Buddy needs a very specific set of nutrients to live, and the two of them have little time to figure out what Earth food is a match to keep him alive.

Is it any good?

This funny culture-clash story is formulaic but delightful, filled with fun characters, vivid detail, and illustrations that jump off the page. Alien Superstar is fast-paced, with vocabulary that engages more advanced readers while remaining easily accessible to those who struggle to read longer books. Buddy's misunderstanding of common phrases (such as "break a leg" and "live studio audience") turns into a steady stream of jokes for young readers, and Buddy's instant friendship with Cassidy gives the story warmth. Authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver even manage to get a Happy Days reference in there -- a nod to the parents who might be reading along.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Buddy feels when he's trying to fit into society in Alien Superstar. Aside from looking different from humans, what's hardest for him? Have you ever felt that way?

  • What does the story have to say about being a TV star? Would you like to be famous in Hollywood?

  • What other books about aliens have you read?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love funny stories and sci-fi

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