Way up in the sky I spotted this really bright star. I didn’t think I’d ever seen a star glow and shine like this one. ‘Look at that!’ I cried. But Sam was already looking at it. Just fooling about, I shouted out to the star. ‘Hey, you’re really skilful. Come a bit nearer.’ That’s when it began to move…
Like ghosts, ghouls and monsters, aliens have always had a particular draw for young children, fascinated by TV shows like Star Trek and The X-Files, their young minds are much more open to the possibility of little green men than stuffy, rationally thinking adults. So Johnson’s timely tale of an alien encounter proves a popular addition to his series of Corgi Yearling books. Another great cover gives a tantalising taste of what’s to come as the story unfolds through the eyes of two best friends, Freddie and Sam. Both children are without their parents and this adds an unusual dimension to all the alien goings-on. Sam knocks herself out by accident and then she starts to have weird nightmares about an alien being with large, haunting eyes. Freddie is Mr X-files and believes that he knows everything there is to know about aliens and is of course excited by the prospect that Sam might be a target for extra-terrestrial invaders. But even with all his knowledge, Freddie has no idea what shocking secret he and Sam are about to unearth and the profound effect it will have on their friendship.
This story is a great deal of fun and keeps you hooked from the start, the alternative narrative serving to add to the readability. Each child’s voice is entirely different from the other so their friendship and fear shines through. There are some tough issues dealt with here, most notably how the loss of a child’s parents can have a sometimes dramatic effect on a young child. It’s hard at times not to think that perhaps Sam’s dreams and visions are only in her head and the alien-story she claims is real is a smoke-screen for some more earthly, psychological issues. The fantastic twist, when it comes, is a show stopper and will have children arguing among themselves over who claimed to have worked it out first. The beautiful interior artwork by David Wyatt is a real bonus and adds to the suspense and mystery. All in all, a superb tale expertly told by an author who never fails to deliver stories than go beyond the supernatural and into the true heart, and soul, of what it’s like to be a child of today. This title cannot be recommended enough. –Jonathan Weir
Sam and Freddie, both fostered by the same family, are best friends. But when Sam has an accident and knocks herself unconscious, she begins to have weird nightmares about a strange figure with alien eyes. Freddie jokes that the aliens must be after her. But it’s just his imagination, isn’t it?