Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith


Rating: 5 stars

Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith is a wonderful story of an adventure (and alien) — filled summer, and it’s the first title in the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series.

David (Scrub) Elliot is sent to Washington state to stay with his grandmother for the summer. David’s parents don’t have much time for him as they both work full-time. This summer, instead of camp or a stay with his aunt nearer his Florida home, he has flown across the country to see the grandmother he hasn’t met since he was a baby.

His grandmother’s house, a huge Victorian called the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast, is decorated with murals of comets, stars and planets. The first person Scrub meets is a seven-foot tall guy with gray skin who sniffs everything. That was a clue that this summer was not going to be an ordinary one.

As it turns out, Scrub’s grandmother runs the only intergalactic bed and breakfast for aliens on the primitive planet Earth. It becomes Scrub’s job to help disguise the aliens so they can enjoy their vacation on Earth undetected by humans. Some, like the purple alien-squid, are not so easy to disguise.

Keeping the secret is difficult, especially when Scrub befriends the local snoopy girl, Amy, who is fascinated with all things alien. Her father, the town sheriff, has been suspicious of the bed and breakfast and its unusual guests for a long time. He finally becomes the enemy when he sees some aliens and wants to shut down the bed and breakfast.

This story moves along quickly and the readers are drawn into the plot immediately. The aliens and Scrub’s adventures are well described and lead to an ending that is emotional, satisfying.

Scrub learns much from his grandmother. Hippie or not, strange clothes, strange foods (organic tofu and sprouts), she believes in others and has faith that people, er, aliens, have feelings. She believes it is her mission to promote peace and understanding between diverse groups of creatures.

What a great theme to discuss with a young reader or a class of children. This book is appropriate for readers aged eight through fifteen. It would be a great read aloud for a parent or teacher. Themes to discuss include culture, differences, forgiveness, family, diversity, trust, and responsibility.

FTC disclaimer: this book was reviewed from a digital edition provided by NetGalley.