Sunday, December 29, 2013

Children's Book Review: The True Meaning of Smekday (Ages 8-12)

The True Meaning of Smekday
Adam Rex

It has finally happened! The hope and fear of every science fiction nerd on the planet has come true. Aliens (the Boov specifically) have invaded Earth! This story is the account of young Gratuity Tucci, a cat named Pig, and a runaway Boov named J. Lo. This bizarre trio embarks on a cross-country road trip to reunite Gratuity with her mother and the rest of the human race. They become unlikely heroes as they save the world from a second alien invasion by the violent Gorg race.

This book was great fun. It’s a fantastic twist on the classic road trip story. While the adventures and action are great, this story is really something special when it shows how Gratuity and J. Lo try to understand each other’s cultures. Gratuity is understandably miffed at J. Lo and his species for invading her planet and impatient with his absurd alien customs. He loves eating dental floss and thinks that oranges make fine footwear! But it’s not all about wacky alien customs; there were some really funny moments where J. Lo takes a few jabs at some of the silly aspects of American culture.

This book is packed with hilarious illustrations, but the audiobook is fantastic. What I did, and highly recommend, is checking out the audiobook and print copy together. The aliens are hard to imagine without the drawings, but the audiobook really completes the experience. The voice acting of Bahni Turpin is excellent. She performs a wide range of American accents as well as wonderful interpretations of two different alien species. It’s intended for middle grade readers, but I heartily recommend this title to the young and old and everyone in between.

Submitted by Mollie McFarland
Springville Road Library

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