Marie's Reviews > Alien Encounter

Alien Encounter by Pamela F. Service
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's review
Feb 13, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy-sci-fi

Alien Encounter, the 4th book in the Alien series by Pamela F. Service (illustrations by Mike Gorman) continues the saga of Zack, alien agent on Earth. Zack was placed on Earth as an infant but only found out about his alien status last year. (They do not indicate his age but I feel he was a teenager.) His mission on Earth is to act as a representative for the Galactic Union. This time his mission is to intercept a “Nythian” alien youth named Tu before he scares Earthlings so much that they will not want to join the Galactic Union (when the time comes). Tu is in search of his father, Iv, who he believes is the sole survivor of the Roswell, New Mexico U.F.O. crash in 1947. The action takes place in Roswell during the annual U.F.O. Festival. The “plot thickens” when Zack needs to bring his father on the trip and his father is unaware of him being an alien. Zack finds Tu and befriends him. To complicate matters Major Garrett (Army Intelligence) is hot on their trail and kidnaps Zack’s father. All ends well but you will have to read the book to find out how our protagonist rights the world on Earth again!

Alien Encounters won the Eleanor Cameron Award for Science Fiction Literature for Middle Grades for 2011. (Amazon book review suggests a grade level of 3 and up and an age level of 8 and up.) Its simple text makes it easy for middle grade readers to follow the fast past science fiction storyline. I gave it three stars because i feel it lacked something in the storyline but I am sure it would be attractive to boys who like alien encounters.

The illustrations are done in black and white sketches and although sparse they add a visual cue to how the characters look. Interestingly, Gorman’s illustration of Zack reminds me of Darren Stevens from the Bewitched TV series!

Classroom recommendations include a study of the Roswell incident in American history. Students who enjoyed this text might also comparing and contrasting it with Steven Spielberg’s movie, E.T. In addition, this text would be ideal for extended writing activities. Students can write about; “What they would do if they met a real alien” just as Zack did. (Zack supposedly wrote about this topic and won a trip to Roswell, which was not true.)

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