Daniel Kendall has nothing in common with his family. He knows he’s different and his family nickname – Oddbod – only serves to reinforce this. He is, therefore, not surprised when his sister, Jessie, informs him that he’s not really her brother. It’s easy for Daniel to accept her assertion that he’s really an alien, abandoned my alien parents and adopted by the Kendall family simply because they felt sorry for him. Suddenly Daniel understands why he is different and all he wants now is to return to his home planet. He enlists his two best friends, Freddo and Gordon, to help him. They have plenty of ideas but their plans are not always sensible or, indeed, safe.
The tone of this slightly silly middle grade story is set from the start when we discover how Daniel’s mum and dad met (at a nudist beach in Tenerife) and are introduced to the rest of the family. This is in one of the funniest opening chapters that I’ve read this year. It’s also very impressive writing: in less than one page we’ve laughed out loud, discovered how Daniel doesn’t fit in, and learnt an extraordinary amount about every member of the Kendall family.
Told in first person from Daniel’s point of view, the reader immediately warms to our main character. He’s engaging and witty with a collection of insecurities that children are likely to identify with. If they’ve got brothers and sisters, they might also recognise Jessie’s ‘Random Mood Generator’ which has setting such as ‘mega mean’, ‘obnoxious’ and ‘murderous’.
The voice feels real and I particularly loved the use of lists to share both important plot information and funny asides. I especially liked the ‘Top 5 Secrets of the Kendall Family’ and the list of the trick or treat costumes which includes ‘2 Wonder Women and 3 Supergirls – all adults’, ‘1 Justin Bieber lookalike followed by 9 screaming girls’ and ‘2 police officers – though they might have been real.’
As characters Daniel’s friends, Freddo and Gordon, are less three dimensional but I assume this is deliberate and I have no doubt that young readers will enjoy ideas the two boys develop to send Daniel home. My personal favourite was when they try to practice cryogenics (freezing people alive) in the family bathroom.
While this is a funny story, there is also a serious message about fitting in and it was particularly rewarding to find the Kendall family uniting in the climax (you’ll have to read the story to find out more).
Perfectly pitched comedy with a big heart. Thoroughly recommend this to anyone looking for a rollicking good read and the best bit... it's only the first in a series. I'll be coming back for more from Dan and his motley crew.
Daniel Kendall is different to everyone else in his family. From the colour of his hair to his very long legs - he's just... different. He strongly suspects he might be an alien and with the help of his friends, embarks on a quest to find the best way 'home'.
This funny story of friendship, aliens and satellite dishes will have you roaring with laughter as you follow Daniel and his friends, Freddo and Gordon, on their path to planet Kepler 22b. A series of hysterical events stop Daniel from leaving Earth as he realises maybe all he really does belong here after all.
A brilliant tale of fitting in, annoying big sisters and friends who will literally go to the ends of the Earth for you!
I have just finished 'Help! I'm an Alien' by Jo Franklin. Already translated into German and French and for sale in America, it has at last been published in UK. It's a funny book with enjoyable illustrations about a Year 6 boy who is convinced he is an alien, and has fart jokes aplenty so I am sure will be popular world wide for that alone - but it also has a sweet, tender quality , mixed with well observed jokes about family life and the feeling all children (and adults!) can have of not quite fitting in. I found myself really loving Daniel and am sure loads and loads of children will enjoy this and maybe even be beguiled into reading if they weren't keen before! I also think that it is great that there are sequels planned, as meeting favourite characters again is a great incentive for reluctant readers to get engaged.
10-year-old Daniel Kendall has nothing in common with the rest of his family. For starters, he’s much taller than everyone else – even his dad – plus he’s got brown hair and brown eyes when everyone else has blond hair and blue eyes. When his older sister, Jessie, explains to him that the reason he’s so different is because he is an alien who was abandoned on Earth and adopted by the Kendalls, it makes complete sense. With the help of his two best friends, Gordon the Geek and Freddo the Fartmaster, he works out that he’s actually from Keppler 22b and he needs to get back to his people where he might actually be accepted. But interstellar space travel isn’t easy to organise when you’re 10 and the closer Daniel gets to travelling home, the harder he finds it to say goodbye …
Jo Franklin’s debut book for children aged 8+ is a warm and funny story that will appeal to any child who feels like they don’t belong and the illustrations by Aaron Blecha do a great job of drawing out the humour. Daniel is a likeable character – gawkily tall, enduring a meaner older sister and certain that his best friends aren’t cool (and yet desperate to keep them) – it’s easy to understand why he so readily believes Jessie’s claim that he’s an alien and Franklin does well at showing his point of view (especially as the facts point to something being wrong). I also enjoyed the depictions of Freddo (who comes from a colourful family of market traders that I hope to see more of in future books) and Gordon (who has OCD, loves his laptop and is tight with his money), both of whom support Daniel in their own way while also having their own issues to worry about. There are some great set-piece comedy scenes (my favourite being a meeting in a kiddie’s wendy house but closely followed by an escapade with a home satellite dish and experiments in cryogenic stasis) and Franklin packs a lot of plot into what’s actually quite a short book. There are two sequels planned for this and I will definitely be checking out what Daniel and his friends get up to next.
This is both funny (some actual laugh out loud lines) and heart-warming (with a theme of strong friendships). I was intrigued to know how Bod's situation would be resolved. I thought the ranking (and re-ranking) of Bod's friends as first best friend & second best friend was amusing - and also true to life. Some lovely illustrations too. My niece is going to love it.
This is a great start to a very inventive series by author Jo Franklin. Her book, already a best seller in Germany and making waves in France and the States, is both funny and tender; a strong,engaging and refreshing take on what friendship really means and also about the blood ties in families.Jo casts herself as a comic writer and certainly I had many laugh out loud moments but what really makes this book zing for me is the interface between the terrific humour and a convincing story with experiences of feeling- well, quite simply, Alien, - to the world around us we are supposed to slot into.Thoroughly recommend it for your children and quite frankly, for the parents too, particularly if life is on a bit of a downer currently. Guaranteed to cheer you up.
I think I understamd why Daniel thoght he was an alien; he was feeling so different to his family, and his sister stated he wasn't human with such conviction he believed her. He found differences between his family and himself that proved he was different. I was pleased his unique friends whose characteristics made me smile and grimace in equal measure, yet they pull out all the stops to help Daniel get to his true home.
I was happily shocked at how far the cyrogenic experiment went, and loved it as part of the plot. His mother soon forgets she didn't want Freddo or Gordon around after that incident, which is good (sort of) for Daniel.. It's clear that Freddo's family isn't on the right side of the law, but his heart is in the right place and he helps Daniel every step of the crazy plan, just like Gordon who is a kind geek who adores new shiny toys whatever the legality of their origin.
I was surprised at how many times I nearly cried from the sweet gestures that Daniel receives. The story gets scary when a communication venture goes rather wrong, providing a good message not to give out your address to anyone in any language. I loved the random moods genertator moments for Daniel's sister Jessie, because she is definitely a tempermental teen with attitude. Even little Tommie is useful, as well as adding a cute factor and raising the stakes at the dramatic finale. Only I hope it's not the end as I