Book: How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth
Author: Paul Noth
Age Range: 8-12
How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth is the sequel to Paul Noth's How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens (reviewed here). At least one more book will certainly be forthcoming, as this book ends on something of a cliffhanger. This wacky science fiction series features a middle school-age boy named Happy (Hap) Conklin, Jr. and his highly unusual family members. In this installment, Hap and his future-path-seeing sister Kayla try to save the world from being sucked into a black hole, a punishment from an alien race battling the Nolan's power-hungry grandmother. They do have help in the form of clues provided by a time and space traveling lizard named Squeep! Saving the world is almost as difficult for Hap as asking new girl Nevada to be his lab partner.
Like the first book in the series, How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth is chock-full of smart cartoon-like illustrations, self-deprecating humor, and intriguing science references. Hap spends considerable time trying to decipher clues from Squeep!, and a code-breaking dimension to the book. The tribulations of middle school (bullies, geeky potential friends, mean girls, and buffoonish security guards, for example) are sprinkled throughout with a light touch. Here are a couple of snippets to give you a feel:
"She's funny, I thought. You're funny too. You should ask her to be your lab partner.
So I walked up to her to introduce myself.
Then I walked past her.
I ended up in the back of the room sharpening a pencil.
(Picture of a pencil with callout "It was already sharp" pointing to the tip.
"Dad had been right about one thing. Just because I'd been in extra dimensional space-time didn't mean I understood it. And "fear of the unknown" is a picnic compared to the terror or the incomprehensible." (Chapter 12, ARC).
How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth was a quick, humorous read. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read it right after reading the first book, when the details and characters were fresh in my mind. But I still quite enjoyed the interplay between family dynamics, middle school, and over-the-top science fiction adventure. I look forward to the next book! Fans of How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens will definitely not want to miss this one. And for those who haven't read the first book, but enjoy over-the-top illustrated humor, this series is well worth a look, a great fit for elementary or middle school libraries. Recommended!
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).