Thursday, March 1, 2018

Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence

Avani isn't happy about being the new girl in town. She's even more disappointed in the Flower Scouts troop. Unlike her Pine Scouts troop at home they don't do anything fun, just talk about boys and makeup. But what Avani doesn't know is that, quite a ways away, another girl is having a hard time fitting into her scout troop...and only has a few minutes to pick up her specimen for her badge!

Turns out, she picked Avani. At first she's shocked, but Avani figures out pretty fast that she'd much rather be a member of the Star Scouts, even if her troop has some.... issues... than the Flower Scouts back home. But it's not long before things start getting dangerous, with a rivalry with the methane-breathers and a challenge to Avani belonging in the Star Scouts. After all, Earth isn't a member of the Galactic Union!

Will Avani be able to stay in the Star Scouts - and will she figure out how to be a good friend (not to mention survive?)

There's an easy sense of diversity throughout this graphic novel. Avani doesn't automatically team up with the only other non-white girl in her earth troop. Although it turns out they have some interests in common, she has to get past her dislike of anyone with different tastes and how easily she dismisses the other girls. The aliens themselves have a huge variety of tentacles, colors, and personalities but there's still prejudice against differences and some rough competition. Avani learns that there's still a lot she needs to know about teamwork and friendship before she can truly fit into the galactic universe.

Lawrence has a crisp style that will attract fans of Telgemeier and Hatke along with a sense of humor that will appeal to Captain Underpants readers. This isn't quite the book for readers who want a more sophisticated story of interpersonal emotions - there's too many fart jokes - but it's just the right book for kids who like adventures and funny stories and are navigating the shift to upper grades in school, different rates of maturity, and changing interests among their friends.

Verdict: A funny and exciting story, it might need a little booktalking to get it to the exact right audience, but once you've found them it's sure to be a hit! Also, accidental alien abduction is never not funny. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781626722804; Published 2017 by First Second; Purchased for the library

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