Reviews for Aliens on Vacation

Booklist Reviews 2011 May #2
David--better known to his friends as Scrub--is a long way from his sunny Florida home the summer before his seventh-grade year, having been dumped by his ultrabusy parents in gloomy Washington State. He stays with his grandmother, Sunshine, who runs a dumpy inn in her huge home called the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast. Scrub soon realizes that not all is as it seems at the B and B when he accidentally walks into a restricted restroom that has a urinal on the ceiling. Also, his grandmother's guests struggle with the finer points of the English language and exhibit an otherworldly eccentricity. When a strange blue light from under his closet door wakes Scrub one night, he can no longer deny his suspicions about his grandmother and her borders. The plot is nothing new, but Smith, a teacher and screenplay writer, delivers a first novel about being a stranger in a strange land that many middle-schoolers will find funny and relatable. Slade adds a few goofy touches in the black-and-white spot art. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Scrub is spending the summer with the grandmother he barely knows in Washington State. Although he's surprised (and embarrassed) by the hokey space theme of her bed and breakfast, he soon gets an even bigger shock: the patrons are extraterrestrials. Humorous descriptions of the aliens and of Scrub's antics to evade the town's nosy sheriff enhance the accessible story. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #2
Summer with grandma: boring, right? David, aka Scrub, is dreading it. His too-busy parents have sent him to stay with his hippie-dippy grandma in a small town in Washington. Grandma runs the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, which caters to weirdoes who pretend they're from outer space. The obvious becomes unavoidable when Scrub witnesses one guest devouring aluminum foil while guzzling bleach and Scrub's closet door turns out to be a portal for all manner of tentacled, many-eyed, rubbery-skinned creatures. Grandma enlists Scrub to outfit the vacationing guests in earthly disguises, and he discovers he likes this new feeling of being trusted. But his head and tongue go wonky when curious neighbor Amy, daughter of the town sheriff (who wants to close the inn), starts poking around. Though the momentum takes a while to rev, the hi-jinks hit full gear when Scrub takes three puckish alien youngsters on a camping trip and they cross paths with the sheriff's scouting troop. The jig is up, and Scrub feels the weight of grandma's disappointment. What can he do to set things right? With goofy alien illustrations to kick start each chapter, this tale explores the confusion of impending teen-hood and the importance of a sense of purpose, plus how cool it would be to have friendly aliens living among us. Ideal for upper-elementary readers dabbling in sci-fi. (Science fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 July

Gr 5-7--Instead of enjoying summer hanging out in the Florida sunshine, Scrub has been shipped clear out to Washington state to work at his grandmother's space-themed inn. He quickly realizes that the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast is not merely a clever name. Grandma's guests are actual aliens--from outer space--looking for a relaxing holiday on our quaint backwater planet. Grandma and Scrub try to provide appropriate Earth disguises for excursions, but it's tricky for tentacled, three-eyed, or 10-foot-tall travelers to pass through unobtrusively. The local townsfolk are leery of Grandma's New Age lifestyle and her unusual guests who don't speak English well and have odd customs and mannerisms. Scrub's new friend Amy seems particularly determined to solve the mystery of the inn's clientele--and, unfortunately, her dad is the town sheriff, who would relish an excuse to close Grandma down for good. When the growing suspicion boils over into mob action, it's up to Scrub to save his grandmother's secret--and her livelihood. This deceptively lighthearted tale includes plenty of chuckles. Scrub's chaotic campout with three rowdy juvenile aliens is especially funny. Each chapter is headed by an amusing illustration of a "Tourist"--often in Earth disguise. There is also a powerful message about tolerance and responsibility. The town's mounting prejudice and fear creates an atmosphere of conflict, and the final confrontation with the terrified crowd is genuinely tense. A good choice for young science fiction fans, with special appeal to middle-school boys.--Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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