Earthling – Mark Fearing

Its Bud’s first day at Abraham Lincoln Elementary school, or it would be, had he not missed his bus and ended up going in a completely different direction. The direction is the least of his worries though when he realises that his bus has actually taken him out of Earth’s atmosphere, is full of aliens and he’s on his way to a school of a completely different kind –Cosmos Academy.
Cosmos Academy is the best in the galaxy and they don’t take kindly to strangers, the headmaster is under constant paranoia that the terrible Earthlings are going to attack. In fact the Galaxy fears Earth and its people. So when Bud tells Gort that he’s from Earth, Gort does the best he can to cover for him. Can Bud play Zeroball? Can he fit in at his new school? And what’s more, can he get back to earth?

I knew that this fun little graphic novel would be right up my street when I was offered it for review. First day nerves hit every kid when they start a new school and ending up on a whole other planet must be tough, but this hilarious and sweet graphic novel hits the nail on the head when dealing with beating bullies, making friends and fitting in – I mean, if Bud can do it with aliens, anyone can do it on Earth right!
I loved the idea of this book, it’s a relatable underlying storyline but with funny elements and sci-fi inclusion. I know that the storyline will grip any 8-12 year old boy and some of the girls too, I would have loved this one in my last year of primary school!! With being older now it’s all a bit different reading this kind of thing but I would definitely say that a kid would really love it. Bud makes a friend on the school bus who sticks by him throughout and that’s one of the sweetest things. Gort knows that Bud would be expelled – into deep space – if his species is discovered, so Gort helps him out.
I loved the characters too, Bud was a bit of a know-it-all and was pretty smart and I loved the addition of Zeroball because that really made Gort and Bud’s characters come out. They were smart, geeky kids who hated sports, and it just made it funnier that Bud’s disguise was that of a species who love sports. Some of the teacher from the academy had great personalities too and I loved that there were goodies and baddies!
This book is a graphic novel and really easy to read, I’d say it would be great for nine or ten year old boys because I know how difficult it is to get them reading. Earthling was quick and easy and the pictures helped bring life to the story. I have to admit that I was a little confused about who was who in the Academy but I think that’s because my ARC copy was black and white whereas the finished copy will be in colour.
I really would recommend this graphic novel to all kids in the 8-12 range, especially if they have a thing for aliens and space. Bud and the friends he makes have to fight the baddies and get Bud back to earth without his identity being uncovered and it makes for a great adventure. If you kids like comics and great illustrations they will probably love this one too, it was a great read and I’ll be passing it on to my stepson to see what he thinks of it too!
Earthling is Mark Fearing’s first graphic novel and it is due for release on Feb 2nd by Chronicle Books. Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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