VOYAAs Mark Haddon explains in his foreword, this story was originally published as Gridzbi Spudvetch! (Walker, 1993)—long before the author achieved renown with his international best-seller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday, 2003/VOYA December 2003). Besides simplifying the title, Haddon substantially revised the text of this science fiction comedy. Jim, the narrator, and his best friend, Charlie, are a pair of cheerful troublemakers in their early teens. Jim's older sister, Becky, and the parents of both boys are hilarious characters, and the family dynamics are quite entertaining. After overhearing two of their teachers speaking in what sounds like code or a foreign language, Jim and Charlie decide to investigate, and soon find themselves caught up in a series of wild adventures with extraterrestrials. Following suspected aliens all the way from the south of England to the remote Scottish island of Skye, Jim, Charlie, and Becky are captured, but manage to escape from a planet in the "Sagittarian Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy," foil a dastardly alien plot, and save the world. This science fiction romp is very much in the spirit of Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien (Pocket Books, 1989), and such Daniel Pinkwater classics as Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars (Dutton, 1979) and Borgel (Macmillan,1990/VOYA April 1990). The inspired nuttiness of the encounters between eccentric humans and poorly-disguised extraterrestrials will remind some readers of the Men in Black films. This is a wholesome, rollicking, high-spirited caper, ideal for tweens and early teens, including male reluctant readers.