Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Earthling! Book Poster Image
Wacky space adventure for sci-fi comics fans.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Characters in Earthling! use the language of science  ("black hole," "singularity," "supernova") as window-dressing, without really exploring the reality of those concepts.

Positive Messages

In Earthling!, the students, teachers, and administrators at Cosmos Academy initially fear and distrust all Earthlings, but they eventually learn that aliens of all species from across the galaxy can live in relative harmony.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bud handles the experience of being whisked away to Cosmos Academy pretty well for a 9-year-old. He manages to make friends and inspire his team to glory on the Zero Ball court. By the end of the book, he proves that all Earthlings are not to be feared.

Violence & Scariness

Threats of bodily harm are made against Bud and Earthlings in general, but it's mostly just empty talk on the part of some bullies.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Earthling! is a lighthearted sci-fi graphic novel that follows Bud, its young human protagonist, on an intergalactic adventure. The cartoony illustrations and the lightly suspenseful plot will appeal to younger readers who like stories with lots of strange alien characters and silly humor.

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What's the story?

When 9-year-old Bud gets on the wrong bus, he finds himself transported to Cosmos Academy, a school full of alien students from across the galaxy. Earthlings are hated and feared by everyone, so much so that even the location of the planet is kept secret. Bud and his new friends must win an anti-gravity Zero Ball tournament and stay ahead of the suspicious principal if Bud ever hopes to find his way home.

Is it any good?

This is a far-fetched but funny sci-fi graphic novel that mixes new-school anxiety with wild adventures across the galaxy. Author and illustrator Mark Fearing employs a cartoony style that complements his goofy humor. Younger readers will enjoy the many types of space aliens and the lightly suspenseful plot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it feels like to go to a new school (especially if it's full of space aliens).

  • Is it ever a good idea to hide your true background, because you're afraid of how other people will treat you?

  • Why do you think other alien species might be suspicious about Earth and its inhabitants?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and humor

Themes & Topics

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