A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Gabby Duran series from Elise Allen and Daryle Conners is full of adventure and suspense – and also silliness, wit, and heartwarming moments. Even human children can act like aliens sometimes, and the best way to enjoy time with them is to engage, to get to know them. Throughout the series, there’s a big emphasis on accepting people (or aliens) for who they are, and always looking for the good in people and thinking about the “why” of others' behavior -- even when it’s her band nemesis or an angry alien chasing her through a park. Gabby says that her sister is different. Not better or worse, just different, with her own way of looking at the world. The authors don’t attach a label to her behavior, and Gabby values Carmen’s unique abilities and doesn’t try to get her to be less Carmen-y. The series is written very naturally, showing different personalities and gifts, just like our real, non-alien world -- and it’s a really fun read.
What's the story?
In the GABBY DURAN series, Gabby is a sought-after neighborhood babysitter who also has limousines whisk her away to watch movie stars’ children on set. Her workload grows when the A.L.I.E.N. community (the Association Linking Intergalactics and Earthlings as Neighbors) decides Gabby is the one to babysit their young ones and keep their secret: that they live among us on Earth. Keeping her charges -- multiplying kids, unruly trolls, a girls who can morph into objects -- safe is the least of her problems. Keeping their secret from her best friends, her mom and sister, and dealing with her nosy nemesis in the school band proves harder than wrangling one child who multiplies to become nine in the blink of an eye.
Is it any good?
The fun, out-of-this world Gabby Duran series touches on broad themes of acceptance and integrity, on having fun and juggling priorities, and on how it feels to disappoint someone you care about. With so many layers, readers will quickly see that these aren’t simple stories about a girl’s babysitting adventures. Despite the fact that Gabby’s charges are aliens, her priorities are very much down to Earth. She loves her family and friends, tries hard at school and band, and always wants to do the right thing. Her relationship with her sister Carmen is real and beautifully simple. Gabby doesn’t get exasperated when Carmen takes everything literally, and appreciates Carmen’s love of structure and rules. Carmen manages the family’s finances and schedules in thick binders, and can calculate the cost of a ruined meal in seconds. Gabby sees Carmen’s differences as unique strengths, not as something to change.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Gabby Duran feels about keeping her A.L.I.E.N. work a secret from her family and friends. What worries her most about the secrecy? Have you ever had to keep a secret?
Carmen and Gabby are very different people. What makes them get along so well? How are your friends’ personalities different from yours?
What other books about aliens have you read?
- Authors: Elise Allen, Daryle Conners
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: May 17, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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