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Alien in a Bottle
     

Alien in a Bottle

5.0 1
by Kathy Mackel
 

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If Dinn Tauro hadn't shot Tagg Orion off the Inter-Dimensional Wheel, Tagg and his sidekick, Squeeto, would never have crashed on that nowhere planet called Earth. And Sean Winger would never have found the two extraterrestrials in a bottle on the beach.

Without the aliens Sean wouldn't have a hope of entering a glass sculpture in the Hollis Art Fair — and

Overview

If Dinn Tauro hadn't shot Tagg Orion off the Inter-Dimensional Wheel, Tagg and his sidekick, Squeeto, would never have crashed on that nowhere planet called Earth. And Sean Winger would never have found the two extraterrestrials in a bottle on the beach.

Without the aliens Sean wouldn't have a hope of entering a glass sculpture in the Hollis Art Fair — and winning a scholarship. That's all Sean really wants in this world. Sean just needs two things — glass and fire. He knows his parents won't help. So when Tagg offers Sean three wishes in exchange for protecting him from Dinn Tauro, how can Sean refuse?

Could two extraterrestrials really hold the answers to Sean's yearnings? Or are they only taking him on an extraterrestrial ride?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a frenetic energy and sci-fi subject matter similar to her Can of Worms, Mackel introduces eighth-grader Sean Winger, who is determined to make glassblowing his life's work. His down-to-earth parents envision a much more straightforward career for him, and refuse to enroll him in the arts-centered high school he desires. Enter Tagg Orion, a cosmic flea market peddler whose enormous spaceship is somehow contained within a small bottle that washes up on a beach and lands in Sean's hands. Tagg hopes to escape the vengeful Dinn Tauro, who purchased a device from Tagg that was supposed to bring his dreams to life but instead animates only his nightmares. Sean and his friend Olivia end up helping Tagg; in the process Sean finds opportunities to test his glassmaking skills and prove himself to his parents, while the sneaky Tagg learns a lesson about selfishness. Genre fans will be willing to go along with the goofy plot for the sake of Mackel's snappy pacing and sharp prose. At breakfast, for example, the parents "[chew] their high-fiber cereal while they [digest] their high-minded Financial Times." The glassblowing story line adds some dimension to Sean's character and gives readers a chance to learn about the craft, too. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
There is everything in this novel to keep a middle reader's interest: weird juvenile aliens, a big teenager's struggles with his parents, and lots of yucky or creepy images. The storyline is quite imaginative. Seventeen-year-old Sean Winger wants to be a glassblower more than anything else in life, but his parents want him to do something practical. Sean believes the only way out is to get a scholarship to an expensive art high school by winning first prize in the Hollis Art Fair with his glass sculpture. But he has no fire and no glass—until he happens upon two aliens in a bottle at the beach. These aliens are no genies, though they offer help in exchange for protection. Tagg Orion, an intergalactic trader, and his sidekick Squeeto, a tiny speck with a big voice, are being chased by Dinn Tauro. Dinn purchased a Dream Ring from Tagg that brings him nothing but living nightmares, which Dinn brings to Earth to nearly ruin Sean's dreams for glassblowing. But with the help of a brainy, stargazing girl, Sean, his parents, and the aliens all come to satisfactory terms. The interweaving of dreams with reality, the scientific premise of a bottle that travels inter-dimensionally, and the slime-spewing language make for a unique inter-terrestrial read. Kids should like this one a lot, and they may begin to think seriously about their own plans for the future. Readers are warned, of course, not to try glassblowing on their own. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Intergalactic junk dealer and con artist Tagg Orion has sold warlord Dinn Tauro a defective Dream Ring that produces living nightmares. Now Tagg is on the run, pursued by Dinn and his dreadful dreams-come-true. Meanwhile, on Earth, eighth-grader Sean is searching for the perfect piece of glass. He dreams of studying glassblowing at an exclusive museum high school, but his parents won't pay the tuition. His father especially scorns the "starving artist" lifestyle. Sean hopes to create a sculpture that will impress the judges of the museum's scholarship competition-and his folks. Tagg's spaceship crash-lands on Earth where a quirk of inter-dimensional perception causes it to appear to be very small. Mistaking the transfigured ship for an ornate glass bottle, Sean tries to use it for his project. Tagg offers access to his solar fire link and a supply of off-planet glassware in return for hiding the ship until it can be fixed. Unfortunately, Dinn is still on the junk scavenger's trail, and his nightmare scenarios are getting out of control. As the alien mind phantoms threaten his family, his home, and the fabric of reality, Sean realizes that his art is the only thing that can reshape and restore the normal world. The multifaceted plot includes both raucous adolescent insult humor and thoughtful reflections on the power of art and the nature of dreams. Realistic family relationships and a touch of romance blend seamlessly with Saturday-matinee-style science fiction action. An unusually perceptive story with a strong message about self-expression and responsibility.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dreams and nightmares both come true in Mackel's latest sci-fi farce, as two human middle-schoolers get caught up in a feud between an alien junk dealer and a violently dissatisfied customer. Focused on becoming a glass artist despite his father's opposition, Sean picks up a bottle that turns out to be the damaged spacecraft/warehouse (much, much bigger inside than outside) of interstellar huckster Tagg Orion. This gives Sean an in with classmate Olivia, who has her eyes on the stars. The bad news: Orion is barely a step ahead of Klingon-like Dinn Tauro, to whom he has sold a non-detachable Dream Ring that brings the monsters and horrors of bad dreams to terrifying life. Mackel tucks in family and friendship issues without slowing down the pace appreciably, and after a whirl of chase scenes, food fights, battles with giant rats and dives into dumpsters, resolves all conflicts in ways that allow both of her young folk to display some unusual talents. Fans of the "Time Warp Trio" and similar silly-but-not-stupid fantasy will enjoy this romp. (Fiction. 10-12)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Mackel offers a fast and funny piece of science fiction firmly rooted in well-constructed characterizations. Entertaining.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Mackel offers a fast and funny piece of science fiction firmly rooted in well-constructed characterizations. Entertaining.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Mackel offers a fast and funny piece of science fiction firmly rooted in well-constructed characterizations. Entertaining."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Mackel offers a fast and funny piece of science fiction firmly rooted in well-constructed characterizations. Entertaining.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060292812
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/17/2004
Pages:
208
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kathy Mackel is a novelist and screenwriter. Her films include Can of Worms and Hangman's Curse. Kathy has coached Junior Olympic and Little League fastpitch softball. She lives north of Boston with her family.

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Alien in a Bottle 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Middle-school student Sean dreams of becoming a glass artist so he is always picking up odd looking glass. He finds a bottle that turns out to be the damaged spacecraft of interstellar junk yard dealer and con artist Tagg Orion. Inside the bottle is much greater than the outside container....................................... Sean sees his amazing find as an opportunity to become closer with the girl of his dreams, stargazing classmate Olivia. However, Sean¿s stellar find turns nasty as Dinn Tauro comes after Tagg for selling him a non-detachable Dream Ring that animates cretins previously residing in nightmares. Now Sean and Olivia are caught in the middle between an irate customer and a con artist junk dealer................................ Aimed for an upper elementary school audience, ALIEN IN THE BOTTLE is a fabulous fantasy tale that adults will enjoy too especially those who remember Krypton¿s Kander. The story line is fast-paced with wonderful fight scenes including classic food fights and skirmishes with gorilla sized rodents. However, the key to this wonderful story is the lead human duet that learns the importance of friendship while struggling to resolve an intergalactic mess............................ Harriet Klausner