Aliens have invaded Earth. Only now it’s not Earth–it’s Smekland, named for the glorious and brave Boov leader, Captain Smek. These aliens have kidnapped Gratuity “Tip” Tucci’s mom, and are relocating all humans to Florida. So now Tip is on a quest to save her mom, along with her cat Pig and her unlikely new Boov friend, J. Lo.
I love Adam Rex, and I read his hilarious Fat Vampire, as well as his children’s book Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich before I picked up The True Meaning of Smekday. Rex’s style of humor reminds me a lot of Christopher Moore, so if you’re a Moore fan, you should check out Rex’s work. And this is a pretty good one to start with. It’s funny, it’s touching, and it’s got fantastic illustrations. It’s also got a lot to say about expansionism and colonization, but the points are made in such a way that kids won’t feel like they’re being preached at.
Adam Rex is a funny, funny guy with a great talent at character voices. Tip is a wonderful protagonist, and her growing friendship with the Boov alien J.Lo is one of the highlights of the book. I am also a big fan of mixing formats, so I loved the illustrations and comics throughout the book. I also really liked how the narrative is supposed to be an essay that Tip is writing for inclusion in a time capsule.
If you’re after a fun, quick read with wonderful characters and a great sense of humor, give this book a try. You can learn more about Smekday, Boovs, and read a bit of Tip’s essay at the website for the National Time Capsule Project.