Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

Ten-year-old Daniel Jackson Lim ("D.J.") is bummed. Every one of his four Asian American siblings has a talent for something like soccer or tennis, but his only talent is being a good friend to Gina, who moved away from Berke County years ago. Things are lonely for him, until a little blond boy wearing silver underpants falls from the sky, at which point, naturally, life gets much more interesting. His name is Hilo, and he doesn't know where he came from, but when he starts to eat grass it becomes obvious he is not from Earth. All Hilo knows is that he has a purpose, though he doesn't know what it is until a massive robot ant falls from the sky and--with plenty of sound effects like WHIIIIR and ROAAR!--begins attacking him and his newfound friends.

Amid the boisterous action and alien comedy (Hilo thinks "AAAAH!" is a friendly greeting), kids may well identify with D.J., a boy who feels like an outsider in his own family. Fortunately, D.J.'s old friend Gina moves back to town in time to assure him that he's not boring just because he doesn't play soccer or tennis... that bravery and friendship are what count.

Judd Winick, a cartoonist known for his appearance on MTV's The Real World and his graphic novel Pedro and Me, has a breezy, energetic illustration style and bold color palette that suit the simple plot and accessible, funny cartoon-bubble dialogue. Hilo ends on a cliffhanger, which will leave readers eager for the next installment. --Stephanie Anderson, assistant director for public services, Darien Library

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