Review Blog

Oct 11 2010

Spike and Ali Enson by Malaika Rose Stanley

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Tamarind, 2010.
(Ages 8-12) Recommended. This is a fun read, ideal for competent but reluctant readers. Spike's baby brother, Ali is a nightmare; he takes up all their parents' attention and produces a phenomenal quantity of vile smelling waste products - from both ends! Then there's the small matter of the suspicious glint in his eyes, the hint of scales and the greenish tinge to his skin. In fact, Spike is convinced that his baby brother is an alien.
Spike decides to take his fears to the UFO Notification Centre, where the wacky boss TJ Hoppermann takes Spike's concerns seriously and promises to investigate. Hopperman tests Ali's 'waste products' with shocking results.  Ali is indeed an alien and the story hits the press.  With the house surrounded by Paparazzi, Spikes's parents finally reveal the truth about his brother.
At first I thought this would be a run of the mill story about sibling rivalry, but it's far more imaginative than that. With a fast moving narrative and unexpected plot twists, this is an ideal story to tempt reluctant readers. The illustrations are lively and humorous, the chapters short, with plenty of dialogue and an abundance of cliff hangers, and the dramatic conclusion leaves room for a sequel. Great fun.
Claire Larson

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