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Dude, Where's My Spaceship? (Weirdplanet, Book 1)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Joyriding aliens Ploo and her brothers, Klatu and Lek, crash their spaceship on Earth (probably Klatu's fault, he's such a varna!). Unfortunately, they crashed in the desert near a certain secret base called Area 51. They hardly get out of the ship and hide it with their hide-a-craft when Ploo is grabbed by soldiers and taken to the base.
There she is put in a cage, unable to communicate verbally because the soldiers confiscated her language gum, thinking it was a weapon. Meanwhile her brothers have morphed into humans and stolen a pizza-delivery car to try to rescue her.
Is it any good?
Young readers will enjoy the jokes, starting with the title and chapter titles ("We've Got Seven Pepperoni Pies. Is Our Sister in There?"). Dan Greenburg, author of the popular Zack Files series, has made something of a career producing high-interest, easy-to-read series combining elements that early readers like: silly humor, aliens, pop culture references, and supernatural (but not scary) elements. This new series, while not quite up to Zack Files standards, fills the bill admirably.
Greenburg is good at creating silly ideas with lots of potential, such as language gum, which allows the aliens to speak in Earth languages. But pop in the wrong color, and they're speaking the wrong language, and the language ability starts to fade as the flavor wears out. This isn't great literature, but it's harmless and fun, and if it keeps kids reading then it's all to the good.