4 out of 4 stars
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Children’s literature that makes learning fun is always a joy to read. Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves by Kathryn Rose Newey is one such joy. Ilnoblet (Il for short) is a Gapitonian alien living on Earth as a young human boy. The book follows Il through an adventurous mystery to stop the Mootilokygogrify aliens from absorbing all Earth’s water for the Spaciton Astro-Morphing process. Using a clever combination of numbers and words, can Il stop the Mootilokygogrifies before they dry out the Earth?
Are all the unfamiliar words in the previous paragraph making you hesitate? Don’t let them. This book is absolutely awesome. The first couple of chapters serve as a plot-driving explanation for the Gapitonians, science, and how it all fits together. There is also a glossary at the end so alien words can be looked up as soon as they’re encountered. If you’re still feeling apprehensive or you’re just not a fan of science fiction, you could skip this one, but I highly recommend giving this book a chance.
Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves would be wonderful for ambitious readers between ages ten and fourteen. Younger readers might enjoy this with a parent. There’s plenty of action to keep kids interested, and alongside, there’s a fantastic message about fitting in. Newey captures the child’s mind so well. Il sometimes feels like he doesn’t belong on Earth with his Earth family. He struggles to fit in as both a kid and an alien. In the end, he finally feels comfortable with who and where he is. This is so important, especially for kids. As an adult, watching Il find his place on a foreign planet really changed my outlook. If an alien can fit in on Earth, I can fit in wherever I go.
I love Newey’s use of letters and words in Il’s confrontation with the Mootilokygogrifies. It’s such a unique take on the humans vs. extraterrestrials trope. You will find no lasers or photon torpedoes in this book. Instead, it’s the powers of order and creative knowledge that allow Il to do battle. Beneath that battle, lessons about triangular numbers, palindromes, and other concepts hide, teaching through a fun science fiction tale. The epilogue of this book includes a poem Il uses to fight the Mootilokygogrifies, complete with a breakdown of the various number and word devices the poem contains. Whether you’re learning about these things for the first time or getting a reminder of long-forgotten middle school classes, this book presents an engaging and entertaining learning experience.
With great pleasure, I rate Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves 4 out of 4 stars. This adventure story is fit for both kids and kids at heart. As an avid Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan, this book’s myriad of alien cultures drew me right in. Science fiction readers who want a little fun with their science would enjoy this book. The only minor criticism I have is that the first two chapters felt a little heavy on Il’s backstory, but it wasn’t enough to lower my rating. I invite you to suit up and embark on this alien journey into your own backyard.
Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves
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