When five members of a middle school marching band are accidentally projected into an alternative universe during a field trip to the NASA headquarters, their fates land in the hands of the Multiverse Allied Council: a group of extraterrestrial delegates responsible for preserving harmony across the multiverse. Then Dev, Isaiah, Tessa, Maeve, and Lewis discover that Earth’s destruction is imminent due to an environmental collapse caused by humans. What can they do, when their most formidable skill is marching in formation? Against all odds, the space cadets fight to navigate the multiverse, save themselves from power-hungry forces eager to destroy them, rescue their families, and fight for the preservation of humankind. But forces far bigger than they ever imagined have insidious plans for the multiverse and its inhabitants . . .
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!