BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Aliens Invaded My Talent Show
Author: Matt Brown
Illustrator: Paco Sordo
Publication Date: June 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 3-6
Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! by Matt Brown (who is also well-known for the Compton Valance series of books) is a middle-grade novel that is sure to be a hit with fans of funny children’s books. I found this to be quick and accessible read that had me giggling and guffawing the whole way through.
Eric Doomsday is a pretty normal young boy who likes hanging out with his friend Vinnie. He also enjoys doing magic tricks, despite the fact that they tend to go a little bit wrong.
Not being particularly popular at school, Eric and Vinnie are delighted to receive an invitation to super-cool Hattie Lavernock’s birthday party (even if it was just because her mum invited the whole class). When the magician unexpectedly fails to show up, Eric takes the opportunity to demonstrate his penchant for magic tricks to his classmates. What follows is an overzealous flick of the hand during one of the tricks, a cake flying through the air, a room full of crying children covered in fondant and one very unhappy birthday girl.
Deciding to lie low with his magic tricks for a while after the birthday party incident, Eric returns to school to find out the school inspectors are due to visit. When the headteacher decides to impress the inspectors by putting on a talent show, Eric wonders if he can possibly face more public humiliation by performing magic tricks again.
Anyone who has ever been through an OFSTED inspection will recognise the feeling of having visitors in school who seem like their priorities may be from another world. But the inspectors that arrive at Eric’s primary school that week appear to be altogether more … alien. Dressed in unlikely 80s fashion choices and appearing quite unable to follow simple social norms, it quickly becomes clear that the two school inspectors are extra-terrestial beings and it falls to Eric and his magic to save the school (and the whole planet) from immediate extinction.
What I enjoyed the most is the way in which there is a delightfully crafted mix of humour types woven through each chapter; visual (who can resist a good slapstick cake-whizzing-through-the-air scene?), satire that will makes OFSTED-weary teachers smile wryly, farce as the ridiculousness of the extinction scenario mounts, and an abundance of wordplay and puns. The written humour is perfectly accompanied by Paco Sordo’s cartoon-style illustrations.
I really enjoyed this fun and accessible read. I recommend this as a great book to charm reluctant readers in older classes, but also more widely as a humorous page-turner whose appeal spans across the whole of KS2 and one that will keep readers chuckling from start to finish.
Order Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! online or from your local bookshop or library.
Look out for Matt Brown’s guest blog post tomorrow, in which he will share his top recommendations of funny books.