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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 11 to 14.
Millions cross oceans. Thousands hitchhike. Untold numbers curl up in airplane landing gear. Some even swagger across borders, their passage provided by unknowing, careless humans. The title may create expectations of Martians or UFOs, but the millions referred to actually include rats, toads, and snakes. Nevertheless, this book offers plenty of excitement. As the authors explain, in this case alien means from another region, and invader is someone or something that is taking over. Two dozen alien invaders are targeted, each categorized by size, homeland, area invaded, and line of attack (how and where the invaders originated). Most of the invaders are creatures, but several are nefarious weeds or plants, and one is even potato blight! The book also discusses how the reader can join the crusade against invaders. For example, do not invite a rat for dinner by tossing food on the ground. The dramatic text, intriguing subject matter, and first class illustrations combine to make this nonfiction a great read even for those who ordinarily prefer fiction. One caveat, though: the final invader section, "Get Ready for the Pandemic" (avian flu), could be too real a threat for easily frightened children and should therefore be approached with caution. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner