The True Meaning of Smekday
Read by Bahni Turpin
This is the story of Gratuity “Tip” Tucci who writes a report on “The True Meaning of Smekday” (what used to be known as Christmas but the alien Boov changed to Smekday in honor of their leader). Gratuity tells all about when she noticed that strange things started happening to her mom and the start of the Boov (the first group of aliens) coming and taking over earth. But her teacher didn’t like how she her essay didn’t exactly tell what Smekday meant to her. So she then re-wrote the essay to talk about when she met the Boov J. Lo and they went on a trip across the country in a car that J. Lo modified to be a hover-car so that Gratuity could find her mom. Of course the fact that the rest of the Boov race were after them, a second alien race (who is not-at-all friendly), and other humans who are suspicious of J. Lo complicate what should be a simple roadtrip with an 12-year-old driver and an alien.
This is a funny story. But I knew that already. It was written by Adam Rex, so that is just what I would expect. But the sound recording of this book, now that is hilarious as well. All the various Boov/J. Lo sound effects were spot on. Once after I had listened to a particularly good part of J. Lo dialogue, I found myself wanting to insert a sort-of Boov smacking sound after I finished speaking. Luckily I caught myself in time and the person I was talking to had no idea just what kind of alien smack almost headed their way. The punch lines of any various chapters were delivered in such a way that I audibly laughed (and often for more than just a few milliseconds). Mostly this was just a fun story that had an especially good audio recording. No wonder it got the Odyssey Award winner for excellence in audiobook production!
Book Discussion Questions:
Why did Gratuity decide to drive to Florida?
What made her trust J. Lo to begin with?
Why didn’t J. Lo and Gratuity tell each other everything to begin with?
Did the way the story was presented (in the essays and the journal entry of the rest of the story) enhance the story? Why or why not.
How had Gratuity’s mom changed once Gratuity met up with her again? Was it a good change?
Why didn’t Gratuity want everyone to know that she was the one that saved the world? What would you have done?
Listening Library: Books on Tape, 2007
FORMAT: Audio Book
AGES: Elementary School, Middle School