The Golden Grasshopper.
Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 9 - 11.
Surprisingly, Mr. Thomas agreed. "You two must be making a very interesting science project using fleas," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing it."Lisa is a spunky, mischievous 10-year-old living with her single mother in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Lisa has been known to have had a few crazy ideas. When she decides to win first prize at the school science fair and a trip to Vancouver with a project on U.F.O.'s, she enlists the help of her classmate and cousin Paul.
I swallowed hard and glanced at Paul. He had a silly smile plastered on his face. Well, he'd told the truth. He said the fleas had something to do with the project. Mr. Thomas was the one who thought we were using them in the project. I waited for Paul to correct him, but he didn't.
I swallowed again and sighed. There was going to have to be a lot of explaining the day of the science fair. The truth couldn't be told then - for who would believe the truth anyway? No, we were going to have to work on making up an explanation that was credible enough for us to win first prize.
Paul, the more cautious of the pair, suspects that the whole thing is another one of Lisa's crazy schemes. But the two cousins get a whole lot more that they bargained for when a real, live alien appears on the front lawn! Gagar, from the planet Ylephithon, introduces himself to the two children. He explains that his mission on Earth is to get fleas so that colonies of them can be built up on his planet. He shows the pair his flea capacitor which converts flea power into energy that allows him to fly. Gagar gives Lisa a golden grasshopper and tells her that, if she rubs it and thinks about flying, she will fly. Lisa tries it and gets into a lot of embarrassing situations because of it.
In order to get enough fleas for Gagar, Lisa and Paul set up a business to deflea and wash dogs. While trying to get these fleas and do their science project, Lisa is having to deal with her mother's dating the veterinarian. Lisa is also starting to see boys in a different light. She wears a dress to school one day and is embarrassed by all the attention she receives. With the science project, a dating mother, and boys not acting their goofy selves, Lisa has a lot with which to cope!
When Lisa's mother discovers that Lisa is keeping the fleas in her room, she insists that Lisa remove them. Paul takes them home and puts them under his pillow. The next day, however, he doesn't show up for school because the fleas got loose and bit him.
The Golden Grasshopper, a humorous story with family life and growing up thrown in, touches on being science fiction because of the alien, Gagar. Once children start reading this book, they will continue just to see what bizarre incidents will happen next.
Noreen Paterson is a librarian at Crystal City Elementary School in Crystal City, Manitoba.
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Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - JANUARY 30, 1998.
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