Alex is an outcast, even from himself. After a terrible day in school, he finds a sickly looking swan in his back yard. He tries to feed it, but the swan suddenly bites him--and that's when things get crazy! Outer-space outlaws, inter-galactic police, and the fate of a planet in another universe--and Alex holds the key to it all. Can he step up to save his family and milliAlex is an outcast, even from himself. After a terrible day in school, he finds a sickly looking swan in his back yard. He tries to feed it, but the swan suddenly bites him--and that's when things get crazy! Outer-space outlaws, inter-galactic police, and the fate of a planet in another universe--and Alex holds the key to it all. Can he step up to save his family and millions of aliens' lives?...
|Title||:||The Alien in the Garden|
|Number of Pages||:||164 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Alien in the Garden Reviews
As a fan of Gillian Bradshaw I was keen to read this book. I haven't read any works for younger readers by her before, and this came across as a Diana Wynne Jones type of book. A boy called Alex is at home in England - his family has moved and he's got a new school where he hasn't made friends yet, which is a common device to keep the numbers of children involved low. A large white swan lands in the back garden looking exhausted, and Alex finds that it wants to eat sweet stuff like cake. His family gets involved in caring for the swan, but by night it reveals itself to be a shapechanging person from space. Nicknamed Shakespeare, this visitor recovering from injuries can't talk well at first but improves and reassures the boy that he is harmless and a kind of interplanetary policeman. He thinks some crooks from a different planet are here to steal weaponry; Earth is classed as a planet not sufficiently advanced to be contacted. Alex's dad is involved in making antimatter at a new international lab across town....The plot is complex enough and involves enough races and mentions of physics to make it suitable for young teens, though Alex is aged twelve. Younger readers may find some elements confusing but could skip a bit and just enjoy the adventure, which becomes very exciting. There is a second book about Alex called Aliens On Holiday. The reason I'm not giving five stars is because the writing isn't quite the standard I would expect of this great author. On several occasions, explanations are handed to us in lengthy reported speech while entire sections of the adventure are provided in the same way, breaking the 'show don't tell' ideal. I early found an overuse of It... "It was a big back garden... the people had neglected it and Alex's mum hadn't had time for it." And this is before we get to meet an off-planet visitor of indeterminate sex. Usually I'd expect an editor to remove instances of It if the author hasn't; can the fact that this book was written for younger readers have allowed a reduced quality? I hope not. I was recognising top quality writing by the age of ten. Engage a reader young and you have a fan for life.
This book is okay, but frankly I expected better than okay out of Gillian Bradshaw, who is one of my favorite authors. The issue I have with it is that there's nothing original going on here. Alien cops operating in secret on Earth isn't an entirely unoriginal idea (though it borrows heavily from Men in Black and the non-interference laws sound suspiciously like the Prime Directive) but at every stage of the way nothing happened that surprised me. Not once. The book practically screamed the direction it was going to take, and at every stage on the way it took the safe route rather than the interesting one. In a story featuring a shape-changing alien whose most common appearance is that of the main character, to have only one use of the mistaken identity ploy is positively unimaginative. Basically, the entire story feels like it belongs as an episode in a larger story. In fact, the book might have worked better as a novella. Even at only 150 pages the book feels padded. It's not helped by having the same character kidnapped three times in short succession. While many sections were perfectly fine as standalone incidents, the story as a whole has really nothing to say. Which is too bad, because her earlier children's books (Beyond the North Wind being a personal favorite) were stuffed to the gills with ideas and new scenarios.
It begins with a swan in garden. Alex feeling sorry for himself tries to help the injured bird by feeding it and strangely discovers this creature enjoys junk food. What's more surprising is when Shakespeare the swan (named by Alex's mom) becomes Shakespeare the shape shifting, dancing alien. An alien who is on the run from out of this world bad guys and now even Alex's family is in danger... This was a fun book filled with endearing characters with Shakespeare reminding me ever much of Ax from the Animorph series. I found the plot easy to read and understand with great action. It is a story that appeals to several age groups and could be used as a charming story to read together. I am glad to have read this book