Outer space and aliens. It’s the stuff of many children’s (and adults’) dreams. If an alien were to appear before me and offer to take me on an adventure to their home planet, I probably wouldn’t hesitate…thanks to Doctor Who.
In the middle grade novel Aoleon The Martian Girl: Part One First Contact by Brent LeVasseur the alien girl named Aoleon enjoys making crop circles and is caught one night by a Nebraskan boy named Gilbert. When Farmer Johnson almost shoots Aoleon and Gilbert, they pair flee to her spaceship and take an eventful flight across the world, catching the attention of the U.S. Armed Forces. When Aoleon pilots them into outer space, they head for her home on Mars, where the next part of their adventure unfolds.
The story plays off of a bunch of common sci-fi tropes and story lines, which makes it easily recognizable to younger readers. Knowing the the primary audience of the book is meant to be middle grade readers, I have some contention with some of the word choices. Yes, we ought to be challenging our youth and they are invariably smarter than we give them credit for, BUT in comparison with the complexity of the sentence structure, some of the words were not the most appropriate choice–I hardly see some of the language in books written for adults in the sci-fi genre.
The abbreviated nature of each installment of the series lends itself to the attention span of a middle grade reader and in that regard I give congratulations because it can easily become a difficult task to keep the a story brief yet still progress the narrative forward in a manner that readers eagerly want to move on to the next installment. The illustrations were a nice tool to break up the text and provide the author’s visualization of the scenes presented, even if they conformed to more stereotyped images of farm boys and aliens.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
P.S. I don’t want to be super nit-picky, but when the German U.S. Armed Forces personnel was introduced, the speech that he was given wasn’t presented consistent in the text…and his speech was only two lines apart. Also, “mien,” as was used in the text, is incorrect and this would have been easy to double-check for accuracy.