Aliens book cover

have this book read by me on a free virtual school visit

Find out
about
MONSTERS
An Owner's
Guide

Illustrated by Mark Oliver

MEET THE PET THAT'S
OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Fed up with dull dogs and characterless
cats? Then try a pet alien!

This guide is packed with tips and advice
on how to care for your very own
extraterrestrial, from exploding egg to
extraordinary adult.


"Hilarious text and illustrations guarantee this
will be a hit with young children. "

PARENTS IN TOUCH

"This devilishly funny spoof user guide, with a special
intergalactic twist, is perfect for sharing with grown-ups.
Just the job for little boys eager for fun and adventure."

Pam Norfolk, IOMTODAY

Read these reviews

UK

UK Hardcover •ISBN-10: 0230748155 • ISBN-13: 978-0230748156

UK Paperback •ISBN-10: 0330517414 • ISBN-13: 978-0330517416

 

This book is also available in a Danish edition entitled
Rumvæsner en Håndbog translated by Trine Bech
published by Flachs • ISBN: 978-87-627-1790-9
Buy a signed copy find your local bookshop Buy this book at amazon UK Buy at amazon US


Alien pet shop
Alien Feeding


After months of stopping and starting while writing Monsters, An Owners Guide, I'd anticipated that writing this second Owner’s Guide would be equally laborious, but it turned out to be much easier and it only took me a couple of weeks to complete the first draft.

While the monsters’ guide is written in the style of an instruction manual, the aliens’ guide is written in the style of a pet-care handbook. To get a feel for how these are organised and written I went to my local library and borrowed most of their collection of pet-care books. I made a wide selection, ranging from ordinary pets, like cats and dogs, to more exotic creatures, like spiders and snakes. When I took the books to the counter* I was anticipating some comment from the librarian about my apparent indecisiveness or whether I was planning to open a small zoo, but she didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

Mark did lots of different character sketches for the alien before arriving at the one that appears in the book.
(Move your mouse over the slide-show to pause it.)

I also watched several of my favourite movies about aliens for inspiration. I thought it would be interesting for the alien to have an insect-like life-cycle, starting with an egg, hatching into a larvae, then changing to a pupae before eventually becoming an adult. My main inspiration for this was the Ridley Scott film Alien. However, the creature in that film is far too scary for a children’s book. I wanted my alien to be very friendly, intelligent and inventive and in this respect Steven Spielberg’s E.T. was also a big influence. There are quite a few other film influences in the book. The pet shop was partly inspired by the one at the beginning of Gremlins and readers might also spot references to Doctor Who, Men in Black, Star Wars and The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy in Mark Oliver’s illustrations.

One of the reasons this guide was easier to write than the previous one was that many of the real pet-care books I was using for reference were written for children so, although I still had to set my words in rhyme, I had less work to do in terms of adapting the style and content. Many of the phrases and section headings that I’ve use in the book are taken straight from real children’s pet-care guides. The title of the final section “Saying Goodbye” was the title of the final section in several of the books I looked at, although in those books the section was obviously not about what to do when your pet decides to return to its home planet

When I first showed the text to Mark, he suggested that the alien might cover the walls of the children’s home with strange symbols and diagrams and this gave me the idea to include the alien language in the book, which can be decoded using the decoder opposite the title page. As a boy, I had loved solving and creating codes and can still remember how much I’d enjoyed using a similar translator, printed on the back of a cereal packet to decode the messages on the Doctor Who monster cards included inside. The code messages in the book are all quite short, so if you fancy decoding some longer messages, you can find some on this page.

As usual, Mark has done a great job of illustrating the book, filling each page with amusing and inventive details. My favourite is probably the first spread where we get to see the inside of the slightly seedy alien pet shop, with its bizarre creatures and accessories.

 

* This was in the good old days when books still had to be checked out by a living, breathing librarian, rather than the self-checkout system we now have.
For
Tamara
and Maddie

who are both
highly-intelligent
terrestrial primates

Illustrations © 2011 Mark Oliver. Reproduced by permission of Macmillan Children's Books.
 
divider

Reviews

The essential handbook for all alien owners! All you need to know about choosing and caring for your pet alien. How to feed it, how to potty train it, how to play with it - it's all here! And you must not be put off by the pure grossness of your pet - after all, you chose it! And make sure you heed the warning at the end - what happens when your alien decised to return home? Hilarious text and illustrations guarantee this will be a hit with young children.

PARENTS IN TOUCH

If you think that aliens would make great pets, take a leaf out of Jonathan Emmett and Mark Oliver’s brilliantly entertaining Aliens: An Owner’s Guide and make sure you pick the right one. If you do make the brave decision to own your very own alien, then brace yourself for an experience that is out of this world! This extra-terrestrial guide contains all you need to know about caring for your energetic, alien life form. It is packed with helpful hints and tips on how to pick the perfect egg and cope with cocoons and hazardous toilet habits (alien pee is acidic!). But watch out! Aliens are intelligent, they develop fast and may wish to return home. If you’re not very careful, they may take you with them.
Featuring creative images that use every colour of the rainbow and conjure up the strangest aliens you are ever likely to meet, this devilishly funny spoof user guide, with a special intergalactic twist, is perfect for sharing with grown-ups. Just the job for little boys eager for fun and adventure.

Pam Norfolk, IOMTODAY