Because My Better Half and I were treating one of my last semester’s Advanced Writing Students to a breakfast at Denny’s and had to be in Houston at 8:00 a.m. to congratulate her on winning a $5.000 scholarship, I didn’t post Saturday Morning for Kids first thing early Saturday morning as usual.(The TV cartoons for kids which inspired this meme/post started at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings.) Instead, I had such a busy, full day that I am just posting at 8:00 p.m.
Today’s selection is the proposed first book in a series originated by Maureen George and illustrated by Anna DeVito. I do not know if this first book, published in 1992, actually became a series, but the first book, “The Neighbor From Outer Space” definitely had a cliffhanger ending that promised another book.
Katie Taffy, her two best girlfriends, and one of the girlfriend’s pesky little brothers make up the team that is determined to find some excitement in their hometown, Twin Oaks, where “nothing exciting ever happens.” The way in which the kids look for “something strange” to investigate leads them to spy on Mr. Dugan, a neighbor, who is in all the kids’ parents’ eyes the model citizen and good neighbor. When a strange man in a trench coat visits on a regular basis, and a strange hum emanates from Mr. Dugan’s house when the stranger is there, the kids are led to tape record the two men’s conversations from Mr. Dugan’s open window. Not only are Mr. Dugan and the visitor revealed to be aliens, but their plot to beam up the whole block as a sample of earth life to be displayed in a natural science museum on their home planet, comes to light.
When the children play the tape for their parents, strangely only rock and roll music is where the strange, proof-bearing conversation should be. As Katie tells her companions, “If our own parents won’t believe us, do you think the police will? It is up to us to save us all.” The harrowing, time-limited plan the kids decide to carry out is zany, and the conclusion of the story tells whether it was successful.
This is a nail-biting adventure with a sci-fi “flavor” that is timeless in its setting and theme. This could be any town, any kids, any neighbor, and today’s kids would follow as anxiously as I did, putting themselves in the kids’ situation as they turned the pages rapidly. It is a fun read for kids and one which I enjoyed a great deal.