Roadtrippin with an Alien

The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex (2007)

As I was browsing our spring book fair for the 800th time, trying to figure out what to buy for our library, I picked up this book because of the strangely enchanting cover art. I flipped it over and read:

“This is a truly wonderful book about what happens when a girl named Gratuity and a cat named Pig join forces with an alien named J.Lo to try to save the world from another group of aliens who…Okay, it gets complicated. But trust me, it never stops being funny.” – Dave Barry

And I thought: “Yep, I’m gonna have to read that.” So I bought it from the book fair, but of course was in the middle of about 4 other books that I had to read first. I then happily ran across the audio version as I was perusing for my next highway read at the library, and was even more pleasantly surprised to see that silver Odyssey Award sticker on the front. Maybe listening was the way to go!

And boy was it. I mean, I missed out on the various illustrations and a couple comics, but man oh man, was the audio perfection. Bahni Turpin narrates beautifully, truly bringing the character of Tip (Gratuity — get it?) to life, while simultaneously making you fall in love with this goofy extra-terrestrial. At one point, J.Lo breaks from his normal alien voice to project a TV announcer voice (the only human voice he knows how to imitate), and I nearly snorted my diet coke all over the dashboard. She’s amazing. Match that up with Adam Rex’s genius dialogue and very, very funny circumstances, and we’ve got a real winner.

I started recommending this one to my students before I was even through the first disc. And now that I’m finished, I will be shoving it down their throats.

So much fun. 3 stars

(MOM: I think your kids would like this one!)

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