In these two episodes in the Blast Off Boy and Blorp series, earthling Johnny Smith swaps places with Blorp Glorp from planet Meep as part of the Galactic Space Exchange Program. "Yaccarino puts a fresh and funny spin on ordinary events like lunchtime and gym class," said PW in a starred review of Strange New Planet. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)
Gr 2-5-This third book in the series continues the adventures of two interplanetary exchange students. Blast Off Boy, an average student, has been sent from Earth to a school on a distant planet and Blorp, a brilliant space alien, is sent to Earth. When each school announces the inevitable science fair, the responses are predictable and the results are surprising. Youngsters will recognize the teachers' introduction of the science fair as a way to develop new ideas, experiment, and have fun. (Yeah, right.) They will identify with Blast Off Boy's lack of inspiration and recognize the enthusiastic response of the genius Blorp. At the last minute, in desperation, Blast Off Boy combines two items from his lunch and submits his project, ready to settle for a D-minus. When a huge plant sprouts, he wins first prize. Blorp, who went to work immediately and would take no advice, rigs up a Rube Goldberg contraption that opens cans, unaware that a simple can opener already exists. The vocabulary is accessible but the sentence structure and the alternating voices may be challenging for newly independent readers. The interest level and the humor suggest an older audience and may even appeal to reluctant readers. The artist's now-familiar retro-style cartoon drawings will spark recognition in TV watchers and picture-book readers. Add Yaccarino's name to those of Dav Pilkey and Jon Scieszka when listing authors who have nailed the schoolroom scene.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Blast Off Boy and Blorp, the two unlikely intergalactic exchange students in Yaccarino's early reader series (First Day on a New Planet, 2000, etc.) have their third adventure on their adopted planets. Here they're getting ready for their respective science fairs and once again, Yaccarino tells their parallel stories in alternating sections, indicated by oversized first letters backed by symbols of Earth or Meep. Blorp enthusiastically embraces the task and sets right to work, ignoring the helpful hints from his host parents, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Blorp's enthusiasm is in direct contrast to Blast Off Boy's dread when faced with this project. All the brainy aliens are planning their macaroni models of hydrogen molecules, atom splitters, and the like. When Blast Off Boy boasts to the class bully that his project will be better than anyone else's, the race is on. Problem is the little human has no idea what he will create for the fair. The big day arrives and Blorp reveals his amazing contraption to his human friends. Blast Off Boy, after throwing together a lame experiment at the last second, has a Jack-and-the-Beanstalk moment, wins the prize for the best experiment, and gets to see the bully devoured by his project. Yaccarino's characteristic comic, colorful illustrations, with aliens and humans straight out of a 1950s cartoon, add to the hilarity. His sly sense of the absurd is not lost in the easy-to-read vocabulary. This series is a welcome addition to the library of those just blasting off out of easy readers. (Fiction. 7-9)