Gillian Bradshaw
About the author
Recommended age group : 9 to 12
Gillian Bradshaw
Gillian Bradshaw is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for adults and children, including The Dragon, the Thief, and the Princess, Hawk of May, and The Wolf Hunt.
A dancing shape-shifting alien, outer-space monsters, inter-galactic police, and the fate of a planet in another universe.
In Alien in the Garden, young outcast Alex Marsh finds a sickly looking swan in his back yard, but when he tries to feed it, the swan bites him--and that's when things get crazy! Alex is thrown into the middle of a desperate plot to thwart outlaw aliens who have come to earth to steal weaponry to kill their own kind. Can he step up to save his family and millions of lives in this exciting sci-fi adventure?
  • ISBN pbk 978-1-940021-04-1
  • ePub 978-1-940021-05-8
  • Pbk: $9.99
  • eBook: $3.99
  1. 1.
    At the beginning of the story, Alex asks Shakespeare, "And you're not trying to take over the world or anything, right?" Why would Alex think Shakespeare might want to take over the world?
  2. 2.
    Where is Shakespeare from? Is he from Mars or another planet in our solar system?
  3. 3.
    According to the organization that Shakespeare works for, Earth is a "Class Three Planet." What does that mean? Why do you think that they think Earth isn't a Class Two Planet or a Class One Planet?
  4. 4.
    When Alex's mom calls Shakespeare "Shakespeare," she recites part of a poem. How do you think that poem relates to our character Shakespeare? Do you think it relates to him in ways that Alex's mom doesn't realize?
  5. 5.
    Do the Zzirzizz remind you of any animals that we have on earth?
  6. 6.
    Shakespeare uses a lot of technology, but he doesn't really understand it. Are there technologies that you use and don't understand? Do you think we should understand the things that we use?
  7. 7.
    Shakespeare is a shape-shifter. What are some ways he uses his ability in the story? What shapes would you try if you were a shape-shifter?
  8. 8.
    Shakespeare is very upset when one of the bad guys is killed. Why?
  9. 9.
    When Shakespeare really wants to think about something, he dances. What do you do when you really want to think about something?
  10. 10.
    Shakespeare says that Alex is only "half-fledged"—what does that mean? Where does that word come from?
  11. 11.
    Shakespeare talks about "dancing the center." What do you think that means? Could you relate that to a galaxy or solar system?
  12. 12.
    In the story, Alex is young, and Earth is considered a young planet. How else are they alike?
  13. 13.
    Gillian Bradshaw writes historical, fantasy, and science fiction novels, and she says that all of them have some bits that are true (but some more than others). Which parts of this story do you think could be true?
"An exciting tale of magic and adventure."
—Publishers Weekly
"Funny, lively, altogether delightful."
"Great book!! I would recommend this book to all students. It is a great addition to sci fi for students to read. I plan on using this for my students. I love the story of a young hero that can take on the world."
—Betty Moffitt, teacher
Why We Love This Book
At Bliss Group Books, we grew up loving Star Wars and other sci-fi films and books. One of the things we love about science fiction is that it describes new worlds and creatures in a way that makes us wonder about how things are—right here—and that maybe things can change for the better. We think that the best science fiction not only makes us think, but it also helps us connect—in the middle of all this really wild and cool stuff (spaceships, crazy-looking aliens, incredible technology), it is character and personality that matter the most. We love that. Like the Roman philosopher Cicero said, "It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment."
The Alien in the Garden has all this and more. As we’ve noted elsewhere, one of Bliss Group Books’s main goals is to give space to characters seldom seen and audiences seldom served. The alien hero—called “Shakespeare” by our human hero—is a shape-shifting intergalactic policeman who hates violence and dances to help himself think. That’s a character that we have never met before. Plus the story is smart, and the context—imagining earth as a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time planet—provides an interesting twist. We hope that you’ll enjoy The Alien in the Garden as much as we did.
—Amel Larrieux
—Laru Larrieux
—Alan Bradshaw
—Bliss Group Books