Alien Invasion in My Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure
by Ruben Bolling
Andrews McMeel Publishing
2015, 112 pages, 5.3 x 8 x 0.4 inches
TV will tell you the truth is out there. Decades ago folks would warn you to "Keep watching the skies!" But kids know the truth: The mysteries aren't out there, they're right here. They are in every bump from the attic, that weird locked door in the basement, and, especially, the often mystifying backyard. Kids know that's where the real mysteries lie, and we're all lucky that Ruben Bolling knows it, too.
Alien Invasion in my Backyard, the first in the EMU Club series, is a fun and ridiculous (in just the right way) story of the creation of the Exploration Mystery Unbelievable Club. The book itself is intended to be the Official Report of their first mystery and written by eleven year-old President Stuart Tennemeier who, other than planning on a growth spurt in college, is planning to document all their amazing adventures. His best friend, CEO Brian, and his little sister Violet (no title because Mom makes them let her join) join him to solve all of life's important mysteries. And we can't forget Sergeant at Arms Ferdinand, Stuart's loyal dog who proves critical to cracking the case. As an Official Report the reader gets direct access to the EMU Club files, including photos of their whole adventure lovingly taped to the lined graph paper it's printed on. This is fresh from the brave pioneers themselves and you'll read and see every detail, from slobbery robots and aliens with briefcases to didgeridoo lessons.
Ruben Bolling is the pen name of the creator of the awesomely acidic Tom the Dancing Bug and a finalist for the 2016 Herblock Award for Editorial Cartooning. This, his first work for kids, is a light, charming read that one can only hope gets into the hands of many a little one thirsting for adventure. As a recovering child who looked for mystery behind every door but mostly found it in books, I can tell you I enjoyed reading every moment of this book and cannot wait until I can share it with my own little adventurer. Once he learns how to talk, find important clues, and play the didgeridoo, of course.
– Rob Trevino