Alien on a Rampage

978-1-45580-285-2. 54.97.
Returning to his grandmother’s Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast, 14-year-old David is looking forward to connecting with his old friends from last summer, especially Amy, in Clete Barrett Smith’s sequel (2012) to Aliens on Vacation (2011, both Hyperion). Unfortunately, the first person he encounters is Scratchull who is hostile and condescending. David seems to bring out the worst in this alien whom everyone else believes is helpful and tame. The humor and frustration of David being continually duped by the egotistical alien moves the plot. Only David knows he intends to destroy the planet, but Scratchull always has a ready explanation that makes David seem so crazy and dishonest that he is expelled from his summer job and his ticket home is purchased. David’s only friend is a purple extraterrestrial he calls Snarffle, because this dog-like creature eats anything. David discovers he is the only one who can save the planet. Joshua Swanson’s narration is convincing. He assumes a sinister tone for Scratchull’s interactions with David and a saccharine voice for conversations with others at the B & B.  From the visiting aliens and the cynical former-sheriff Tate to Scratchull’s gummy sidekick, Swanson delivers the male characters with distinctive voicing. Listeners will be rooting for David.–Janet Thompson, Chicago Public Library, West Belmont Branch, IL

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