Review Detail

Kids Fiction 187
Band Camp in Another Universe
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
In the near future, Dev's family has moved from California to Conroy, Ohio because of the problems being caused on the coast by climate change. Ohio is not immune, but Dev is struggling to adjust to his new school. Luckily, the marching band is a safe space filled with students who share his interests. When the band goes on a field trip to NASA's Gwen Research Center, where his father is the head interdimensional physicist, Dev thinks the worst that will happen is that his father will embarrass him. Tessa thinks that she'll spend the day being mistaken for her fashion-challenged twin, Zoey. Isaiah, whose father passed away when he was a baby, is very anxious about all of the seismic activity going on. Maeve has had to deal with graffiti on her school locker as well as an abusive, addicted mother, and Lewis has to deal with a very competitive, sports obsessed father. Little do they all know that those things will be the least of their worries! When an earthquake threatens the NASA facility, the children take shelter in an area that turns out to be a portal to another dimension, and soon meet with the Multiverse Allied Council, which is made up of a variety of life forms from across the galaxy. The band members find that Earth is on the brink of destruction, and they are being tasked with saving it! Will their marching band flossing skills and generally geeky bents allow them to save their planet from certain annihilation?
Good Points
The diverse cast of characters meets up with an even more diverse group of space inhabitants, including Duna, who hails from a nonbinary people and uses the pronouns they/them. The Earthlings struggle a bit with meeting creatures who look like giant caterpillars to them, but soon realize that they must learn to work with people different from themselves in order to reach a common goal.

There are lots of funny moments, and the Multiverse Allied Council has great expectations of the children-- they were supposed to be seven highly trained adults who were to arrive with state-of-the-art equipment. The children have to deal with alien cuisine that looks like starfish and slugs, and get to see a variety of intergalactic creatures in the Menagerie. There are alien video games, cumulo-bunks, and a child from the planet Klapproth who is unable to speak until introduced to some of the band instruments. I loved all of the details of the council's quarters, and the children's reactions to the new environment show equal parts amusement and curiosity.

It's not easy to find great space adventures, but this is a good one to recommend along with Slivensky's The Countdown Conspiracy, Levy's Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy, and Kraatz's The Moon Platoon. There are not many middle grade books about marching band, either, and I can't help but think the marching band gives a little shout out to Jude Watson's Horizon book three, A Warp in Time. Loved The Cubtones in that one!
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