BILLY BLASTER AND THE ROBOT ARMY FROM OUTER SPACE – not necessarily a graphic novel only for the younger reader. No matter how old you are, Billy Blaster will lift your spirit.
Hang onto your hats, dear readers, young or more mature. Get ready for an out-of-this-world recommendation for Billie Blaster and The Robot Army from Outer Space. I’m still not sure why I requested a review copy of the latest graphic book by Laini Taylor and Jim De Bartolo, but it’s been a tough year, and maybe I thought I’d need something to lift my spirits.
I had a new mystery review almost ready for Bookin’ with Sunny, but it will have to wait. Some might think recommending a graphic novel marketed to the younger reader is not likely to be taken seriously by our well-rounded and sophisticated readers. My hope is that I’m not the only adult whose spirits might need lifting, and will be unafraid to tell the younger readers within our circles of family and friends, “So, I’ve just read the best book! You’ve gotta read Billy Blaster and The Robot Army From Outer Space.”
Who is Billy Blaster? She is the young daughter of parents who are both scientists. If graphic novels are to be taken seriously, they prefer not to be called comic books. However, One of the first pictures and ballooned text made me laugh out loud. “She might look like an ordinary girl . . .” Ordinary? Take a look. And laugh as we might, her story is not a comic book.
Billy is a young scientist herself, already winning school science awards. She lives on Earth, an Earth well into the future. Her nemesis is her schoolmate Hector Glum. Prepare for puns. Hector is also a junior scientist, angry at winning only second place to all Billie’s firsts. Through a lot of experiments performed by Billy, her parents, and Hector, Hector is shrunk to four inches high (you can’t really say four inches tall with a straight face, another outloud laugh).
Not all the experiments turn out quite as expected. In addition to Hector’s four inches, he has also become mean and revengeful. An award-winning experiment with robots by Billy Blaster has gone in an unexpected and seriously dangerous direction. The result of both these experiments creates the plot for this delightful story of an evil leader of a distant planet (Bonkers), who, with the help of the now-evil Hector, is determined to take over the Earth.
Of course, the hero is Billie Blaster and her goat friend who has received a brain booster thanks to an earlier experiment by Billie’s scientist mother. Billie and her goat build a spaceship and then rocket off to thwart the evil plan of Bonker’s emperor.
Does Billie succeed? No spoilers here. Within the wildly colorful pages of Billie’s story, are life topics all of us, from children to adults, must deal with: families, unfairness, disappointment, friendships, kindness, meanness, and questionable science. The illustrations come alive with color and settings on the page. The humor is there for kids and certainly for us adults who dare to remember being kids. I’m glad I requested Billie Blaster. It is already, face out, on the bookshelf of books just for my grandkids. Hector Glum has not gone away – our girl Billie will be back. – Sunny Solomon
Also available by Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone; Strange the Dreamer; Muse of Nightmares; Gods and Monsters; Lips Touch; Faeries of Dreamdark; Dreamdark; Spicy Little Curses Such as These.
Also available by Jim Di Partolo: The Boy Who Became a Dragon; In The Shadows-Illustrator;
Also available by Taylor and Di Partolo: The Drowned, A Tale of Mystery and Horror.