HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Black Suits from Outer Space
Author: Gene DeWeese
Jacket Illustrator: Elise Primavera
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 1985
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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DeWeese, Gene. Black Suits from Outer Space (Publisher in 1985 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York City, NY). Eleven (almost twelve) year old Calvin Willeford lives with his father Harrison who is an engineer with Harding Microelectronics, mother who is a former English teacher but now sells houses for Carmichael (Calvin calls it Carbuncle) Realty, seven year old younger brother Walter, and twenty-pound tiger-striped cat Hulk in East Gradwohl. Calvin is skinnier than absolutely necessary, wears glasses, has been known to be a bit klutzy, and is considered “too logical.” He is a sixth grader at Vernon J. Dalhart Middle School where his best friend is Kathy Entsminger.
One day a funny looking cat follows Calvin home and gets into a fight with Hulk. When Calvin throws water on them, he discovers that the cat is an alien who vanishes, leaving behind a ring. After putting the ring on, Calvin’s finger starts twitching occasionally, and he begins to run into several strange men in black suits. Who are these “black suits”? Where did they come from? What are they doing here, and why? This is a reasonable and well-paced story that will appeal to upper elementary fans of science fiction movies. There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., “darned”) but no cursing or swearing and no objectionable or inappropriate material.
The School Library Journal noted that “There is far less readable science fiction for this age group than there is demand, so this story should be popular.” The quirky humor includes the chapter titles such as “As Long As Your Whole Life Doesn’t Turn Out to be a Squashed Bottlecap, You’re Fine,” and “What Would Mr. Spock Do in a Situation Like This?” Black Suits from Outer Space, which was also published under the title Beepers from Outer Space, is Book 1 of 3 in the “Calvin Willeford and the Black Suits” Series. The sequels are The Dandelion Caper (1986) and The Calvin Nullifier (1987).