This is the second volume of Letters from an Alien Schoolboy and every bit as witty and entertaining as the first, which is currently on the shortlist for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize.
We catch up with our alien schoolboy Flowkwee, still living on Earth with his family, and attempting valiantly to understand the vagaries and absurdities of human life. Their mission is to capture hundreds of Earthlings and improve them for use as slaves on their home planet, Faa. At first things go better than can really be expected – humans queue up to enter the Improver machine, or Free Health Club and Sauna as Flowkwee’s sister Farteeta describes it (she’s a girl with a keen understanding of terrestrial marketing techniques), that is until the arrival of another alien race, the dreaded Wiffly Biffly.
The Wiffly Biffly may be pink and fluffy but appearances can be deceptive: they are absolutely deadly. In their own words,
‘Here we come so pinkly winkly
coming faster than you thinkly
with our mouths so dribbly wibbly
and our fangs so wibbly nibbly.
He who laughs at Wiffly Biffly
Sees his doom and sees it swiftly.’
It’s unusual to find a book where there is something funny and clever on every page, but Ros Asquith has managed it. The Alien Schoolboy stories entertain on lots of different levels: buried within the sheer daft exuberance of the plots are astute observations on human life in all its irrationality, including mankind’s obsession with the weather, bathrooms, cars and money. There are sharp one liners, and some favourite old jokes too, but Asquith’s invention never flags. Her cartoon illustrations and their droll captions add to the fun.