Sixth-Grade Alien: Lunch Swap Disaster by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Glen Mullaly

    Sixth-Grade Alien: Lunch Swap Disaster by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Glen Mullaly, Aladdin, 9781534464865, 2020 (original copyright 2000 as Peanut Butter Lover Boy)

Format: Hardcover, 160 pages

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

Genre:  Science Fiction

What did you like about the book? The fourth book in the Sixth-Grade Alien series continues the adventures of our two narrators: Tim and Pleskit.  This can be read out of sequence as the back-story is explained well; however, I would not recommend it.  Tim is an average sixth-grader and his 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 swaps his lunch with Pleskit which has an unintended and humorous consequence.  Pleskit gets love-struck; however both boys fail to notice the cause.  Things get worse as Tim is affected by alien food which almost causes Pleskit to be withdrawn from school.  As with all of the stories in the series, matters get resolved by the end with humor and clever strategizing.  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 as well as adding life and humor to the plot.  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: March 6, 2021

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