Winnick must also have done his research on current trends in middle grade literature, because Hilo is nicely multicultural. D.J.'s last name is Lim, and the first food he feeds Hilo is rice. Since this is an illustrated book, those and the pictures are all the clues we need to determine that D.J.'s family is Chinese. Gina is African American. It is the space alien who is blond, which is somehow vastly amusing.
Fans of Big Nate, the Lunch Ladies, and Geronimo Stilton will pick this book up for the full color format and slapstick humor, but D.J.'s earnest vulnerability will make readers take Hilo to heart and wait for a sequel.