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First in what readers will hope will be a robust series, this hybrid of fiction and graphic novel dusts off a favorite conceit with a slick swipe of edgy visuals and tart commentary. Julian Rodriguez sits at his computer, tapping furiously: "Mothership, you sent me here to study the ways of these mini-brained Earthlings and I accepted your 'undercover mission' against my better judgment." As he tells it, he has stoically endured eight years of condescension, insults and mistreatment as a child in an Earthling home. Cartoons labeled Exhibits A-D make the case: in each a Parental Unit delivers remarks like, "Rise and shine, Mr. Spaceman!" or "Why would you spray paint the bathtub?" A pared-down color scheme (just black and variations of green) emphasizes Stadler's (the Beverly Billingsly illustrator) wiry, kinetic draftsmanship; these tough-guy drawings, whether stand-alones or in panels, toss out little jokes (Julian's school is named Aretha Franklin Elementary) and riff on the text. The plot, not that it matters much, revolves around a showdown between the Maternal Unit and a ravenous Julian: take out the trash or suffer "imprisonment" ("You are going to your room right now!"). It's impossible to read this without laughing. Ages 7-10. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.