cover image Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn

Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn

Greg Leitich Smith, illus. by Andrew Arnold. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59643-835-4

In this gleefully absurd tale, Smith (Chronal Engine) unfurls a series of alien-inspired hijinks at a space-themed motel on Florida’s Space Coast. Almost 13, Aidan is used to the eccentric visitors and long-term residents who stay at his family’s Mercury Inn, but even he’s caught off guard when a UFO sighting turns the area into ground zero for alien enthusiasts, conspiracy theorists, and crackpots. When Aidan discovers a real alien masquerading as a guest, one who needs help staying undercover until she can contact her people, Aidan and his best friend Louis are the only ones who can help. In an adventure that borders on the slapstick, Aidan learns that the universe is a large and very strange place, while discovering some unexpected truths about his own life. Arnold’s skillfully drafted spot cartoons give this offbeat story a lively layout and match Smith’s light and breezy tone, grounded by the occasional serious moment. The result is an engaging, humorous look at humans learning that they’re not alone in the universe. Ages 9–12. Author’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (June)