Book review: “Fat Men from Space” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

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Here’s a cute little story about a boy who gets a filling in his tooth that can receive radio signals. Before he knows it, he’s picking up transmissions from outer space warning of an invasion of Earth by fat men in tweed sport jackets and knit ties, who first eat all the junk food on earth, then intend to enslave the human race to make more junk food.

Pinkwater’s stories are very cute, but they don’t have the narrative strength of Roald Dahl or other authors in this line. They just don’t hold together somehow. My thought is that they don’t really seem to be stories; the author just lays out a cute scenario and an amusing chain of events, but there really isn’t a struggle from Point A to Point B, a crisis, a conflict that must be resolved. This story is a prime example of the problem. It’s funny, but it didn’t really fulfill my expectations of a good yarn. Teachers, take note though: lower-grade students might enjoy hearing or reading this book (it wouldn’t take long).

Recommended Age: 10+