Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan (2014)(ages 9+).
Beach culture and UFOs collide in this lighthearted adventure story about an alien encounter at an aging Cocoa Beach motel.
Twelve-year-old Aidan lives and works at his parents’ motel on the Space Coast in Florida, so he’s seen a lot of weird stuff. Even his best friend, Louis, is a little bit crazy—he’s obsessed with UFOs and swears he saw one two years ago. But things at the Mercury Inn are about to get a whole lot weirder. When an actual unidentified flying object suddenly appears in the sky over the motel, Aidan begins to realize that some of the residents of the Mercury Inn may be much more unusual than he thought. And Louis might not be so crazy after all. Filled with quirky characters and atmosphere, this beachy alien caper, like the aging motel where it takes place, is anything but ordinary.
“Aliens, government coverups, bionic limbs, kooky scientists, luau pigs, conspiracy theories, and mysterious patio furniture—I don’t know about you, but these are the things I look for in a great story. Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn has all of them, plus a huge dose of humor. Read it and enjoy, but be warned: You may never want to eat roast pork ever again.”
—Matthew Holm, co-creator of Babymouse and Squish
“Here is a story for everyone who has ever wondered if that brilliant green light was a UFO. It’s for everyone who has ever imagined living on Mars. In short, it’s for everyone who has ever asked the question, ‘who am I, really?’ Read it, then make your reservations at the Mercury Inn. Just don’t be alarmed if you find an alien in the refrigerator.”
–Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath
“In this gleefully absurd tale, Smith (Chronal Engine) unfurls a series of alien-inspired hijinks at a space-themed motel on Florida’s Space Coast…Arnold’s skillfully drafted spot cartoons give this offbeat story a lively layout and match Smith’s light and breezy tone, grounded by the occasional serious moment. The result is an engaging, humorous look at humans learning that they’re not alone in the universe.”
–Publishers Weekly (For the complete review, click here)
“The Mercury Inn…shelters a colorful cast of characters…in a plot that twists and turns like a roller coaster through the engaging setting. The book design and spot cartoon art with a retro space-age feel work well with the wacky characters and situations of this enjoyably beach-y sci-fi escape.”
–The Horn Book
“The quirky setting and diverse characters add originality. An accessible and whimsical read, this should have wide appeal.”
–School Library Journal
“‘Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn’ swerves and accelerates into madcap places — rumors, conspiracy theories and government coverups…Smith has a sure hand with atmosphere, drawing us into Aidan’s world from the opening…And though plot twists will likely be the main appeal of ‘Green Men,’ there’s a gentler bonus to Smith’s story of the truths that bind us together — human and alien. Simple yet evocative illustrations from Andrew Arnold accent the text.”