Overview from Barnes and Noble:
An explosive, highly charged, and hilarious middle-grade adventure from Mark Haddon, acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
From the moment that Jim and his best friend, Charlie, bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way.
But what does "spudvetch" actually mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they are aliens. Whatever it is, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out.
There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way . . . with a BOOM!
My daughter picked this audio book out for our family vacation to the beach. We listened to it on the way to the coast as well as for a day or two after we got there as we hadn't quite finished it. I read the synopsis and thought it might actually be one my husband would enjoy too. Not the he doesn't like audio books, but most of them I listen to with the kids while he isn't with us. We've had a few that he has enjoyed so I tried for one that could grab everyones attention.
I have to admit, even though it said the students were going to think the teachers were aliens, I thought there was going to be a rational explanation. I thought Jim and Charlie were just going to have overactive imaginations, but they did not. This isn't a spoiler because it becomes clear quickly that something more is going on with these two teachers.
This story reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. I'm not sure if it was the narrators accent, the use of words we do not usually use such as loo, car park, and more or even the insults that were used. perhaps the idea of magic and aliens seemed similar, although it is easier for me to wrap my mind around magic than aliens. The whole idea of aliens and other planets is something I am not overly interested in. I know tons of people want to find aliens and meet them, but I am totally happy not.
This story kept us listening. My husband and I were even tempted to listen to the end of it without the kids when we went out to dinner alone one night. It is a story that worked for the whole family. It appeals enough to adults to be enjoyable even if you don't have kids!
•Pub. Date: May 2010
•Publisher: Random House Children's Books
•Format: Hardcover , 208pp
•Age Range: 10 to 12
Meet The Author
MARK HADDON is an author, illustrator, and screenwriter who has written 15 books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003 in the U.K. It won 17 literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award, and is an international bestseller. Mark Haddon lives in Oxford, England.