Omar and his over-active imagination are back for a third hilarious outing. This time he is chasing aliens, eating Mrs. Rogers’ tasty baked treats and is being whisked off to a wedding in Pakistan.
When Omar returns to school after the holidays he is devastated to find that his class teacher Mrs. Hutchinson has been replaced by Mrs. Crankshaw (a possible super-villain who has escaped from a high security jail and has disguised herself as a teacher). Mrs. Hutchinson loved the class and was the best teacher ever and there’s no way that she would just disappear and leave the children without telling them.
It isn’t long before Omar and his friends are piecing together the clues that can explain the whereabouts of their teacher. A lesson before the holidays on the universe and the possibility of aliens must have upset the extra-terrestrial beings and the aliens must have been listening and have now kidnapped the teacher. Has she really been abducted…
This is so much fun. Omar and his friends, Daniel and Charlie, embark on a frantic and hilarious rescue mission to save their teacher. Despite Daniel’s firm belief that aliens definitely do not exist he finds it impossible to convince Omar of a more likely explanation for the disappearance. Especially as the clues mount up and all the evidence points towards an alien abduction, or at least they do in Omar’s head. Whispers in the staffroom at school suggest the teachers know more than they are willing to tell the children, and at Mrs. Hutchinson’s house there is a very alien-like creature that looks like an inside-out cat, and weird circle shaped markings on the grass could be evidence of an alien spaceship landing. Under the ever watchful eyes of Allah, Omar is determined to rescue his teacher from the alien captors, but has his imagination really gone too far this time?
As with the first two books, there are lots of lovely references to Pakistani culture and what I love about this book is that we get to go to Pakistan with Omar and his family. Tied into this trip is the important message of heritage as Omar is reminded that whilst he was born in England he has Pakistani heritage. The visit to Pakistan is great and Zanib Mian brings the country alive with the busyness of the streets, the hustle and bustle of the markets and the sounds of the call to prayer. The description of the wedding with the traditional dress, the vivid colours, the incredible number of guests and the amount of food show what an important and big celebration a wedding is in Pakistan.
One of my favourite characters is the loveable Mrs. Rogers and she very much feels part of Omar’s extended family now. She gives advice to Omar, makes the best cupcakes and is partial to a biryani.
Black and white cartoon style illustrations, zany page layouts and the use of different fonts all add to the fun. I love how children and their imaginations can turn the most mundane of events into the outrageous and Omar and his friends are definitely turning ordinary days into the extraordinary!
The perfect read for children with big imaginations and who like getting up to all manner of mischief. As Omar’s dad says, “It’s hard to be good, especially when no-one is watching!”
Recommended for 7+