cover image Nose Pickers from Outer Space: Laf #1

Nose Pickers from Outer Space: Laf #1

Gordon Korman. Hyperion Books, $3.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1343-8

The flippant title of this debut book in the L.A.F. :) series should tip off readers to Korman's fast-fire (if sometimes pat) wordplay and amusingly preposterous plot. Devin Hunter suspects he's in trouble the first moment he lays eyes on his school-exchange buddy, Stan Mflxnys, who enters the airport via the baggage shoot. Sporting a crew cut, a tie and ""big thick glasses that made his eyes look like fried eggs,"" Stan has nerd written all over him and breaks all of Devin's ""Rules of Coolness."" Devin, who narrates the story, describes his embarrassment at being paired with Stan; his humiliation escalates at school, where this odd fellow--easily recognizable to readers as an alien--spends a good deal of time ostensibly picking his nose, eats a paper plate and napkin for lunch and announces that he's 146 years old. But before long Devin realizes that Stan's special powers, housed in his computerized nose, are mighty useful when it comes to completing household chores in a nanosecond, clinching first-place in field-day events and, as the tale unfurls, saving the earth from a chilling fate. Korman's tongue is in his cheek as often as Stan's finger is in his nose, creating a light and silly caper that will, as the series obviously intends, bring on ample laughs. Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon, illus. by Tony Ross, is also scheduled for publication this month; two more titles are planned for October. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (Aug.)