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While there was nothing wrong with this story, I expected a lot more of it. When you pick up a book that is a "20th Anniversary Edition," you expect to find a story that has enough <I>je ne sais quoi</I> to have endured two decades. You expect something special. But, while this is a perfectly fine middle grade story, it's not special in any real way. I appreciated that the bullies were both girls and boys, and that the students seemed to come in different shapes. But beyond that....it's ok. I imagine a 12-year-old boy will like it fine. I didn't object to any of the content. I feel perfectly comfortable passing it to my 8 & 11-year olds.
Note: I won this through Goodreads. I chose to read and review it.
Alan Dingwall is a real kid: he's worried about bullies, wonders if his parents care about him now that they're divorced, and envies his overweight friend's apparently happy family. Alan struggles at math, and dreads the school bell that means the school population has to find a way out of the school without running afoul of the "Cougars" - the school bullies.
Life is tough - and real - for Alan, and Scrimger pulls no punches.
Then an alien, Norbert, takes up residence in Alan's nose, and things go quickly awry in Alan's balanced (if somewhat sad) world. Norbert is quickly mistaken for "Squeaky" - Alan's new nickname as the school's suddenly gifted ventriloquist. As Squeaky starts tossing bon-mots aplenty around the school, Alan finds himself unwittingly insulting the bullies, telling girls how he really feels, and being - just this once - the life of the classroom.
What's heartening about this tale is not really the antics of the alien in Alan's nose - though certainly the humour is a blast and it's enjoyable to the extreme. What got my real vote was the true-to-life child frustration that Scrimger wove into the plot. Alan worries that his father doesn't care about him anymore, and that his mother is just too busy to really pay attention. He's a witty kid, and very smart (in non-math ways), and I doubt anyone would have any trouble empathising with Alan's world.
The balance of humour and real-life in this book is nothing short of artful, and kids will appreciate not being spoken down to in this tale. Snap it up, and be prepared for an eventually triumphant novel that will touch on some real emotionality.
I bought this book for my two sons aged 9 and 11. To get them started, I read the first chapter. Well, that was me hooked. I had to read the whole book aloud. For the next week, each night I had to read more than the usual length. I found myself crying with laughter at the alien forcing the little boy Allen out of his usual routine and behaviour. There are some hilarious moments as Norbert the Alien gets Allen into tricky situations he would normally avoid. The alien helped Allen sort out bullies and also to understand his mum and dad. All of these life lessons are given in such a positive way. My sons were invited to a birthday party and they asked if they could buy the 'alien up the nose book' for their friend - this one is a winner for kids and parents.
The "Nose from Jupiter" was really a fantastic book and I loved it! It was really funny and the author had some funny sentences that just made me laugh. I liked the conversations between Norbert and Alan, and this book was funny and also sad. I recommend this book to everybody!
My friend Candace Johnson is reading this book. I've been interested to read it, but she just is a slow reader. She says it's funny, but she hasn't even gotten half way! But it's supposed to be really funny!