Missing – One Brain by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Glen Mullaly

  Missing – One Brain (Sixth-Grade Alien) by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Glen Mullaly, Aladdin, 9781534464841, 2020 (original copyright 1999 as I Lost My Grandfather’s Brain)

Format: Hardcover, 149 pages

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Science Fiction

What did you like about the book? The third installment of the Sixth-Grade Alien series, continues the adventures of our two narrators: Tim and Pleskit.  This can be read out of sequence as back-story is explained, however, I would not recommend it.  Tim is an average sixth-grader and his new best friend Pleskit, an alien from Hevi-Hevi, is the new student in class.  They both have to deal with alien haters not to mention other bullies at school.  In this installment, Tim is accused of leaking stories about Pleskit to a local tabloid.  Their friendship becomes strained due to these allegations and Pleskit ends up becoming friendly with their arch nemesis and personal bully, Jordan, who takes advantage of the situation by driving a bigger wedge between them.  As the story progresses, Pleskit decides to bring his grandfather to school (his grandfather is a brain and nothing else) for a day out and to talk to the students.  Situations heat up when the brain goes missing at the same time as Tim.  The story is set in a run-of-the-mill middle school environment in Syracuse, and includes trips to Pleskit and Tim’s home.  Colorful and interestingly morphed aliens continue to add complexity to the story line.  The multiple narratives give readers an alien’s perspective on human behavior and add life and humor to the plot.  The theme of “do not assume” and a reminder that communication is a valuable asset in a friendship is consistent within the text.  Short, easily digestible chapters are told in large font with plenty of white space and black and white illustrations, enticing struggling readers.  Back-pages contain the third installment of Pleskit’s adventures on Geembol Seven as well as a glossary of alien vocabulary.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The plot is simple, as are the characters.  The creative alien vocabulary may cause some confusion for struggling readers; however the glossary at the end is helpful.  The story line is consistent with the other novels in the series with enough burps and farts to keep readers entertained.  

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers in grades 3 to 5 who enjoy stories about aliens or other titles in this series would enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Librarians who have a Coville following or who like to read science fiction centered on alien encounters will find this a useful purchase.  

Where would you shelve it?  Science Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  I feel that this title would reside near the middle of a “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon Intermediate School, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: February 21, 2021

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