DiscoverMiddle Grade

Rolo the Pet Earthling


Loved it! 😍

Fresh and original, this witty and whimsical read will be a hit with middle grade readers and anyone who loves a creative and quirky story.

“Behold the star you seek afar. The farther you sail, the further you are.” If you’re wondering what this means with regard to this smart and snappy middle grade fantasy, you’re in for a real treat. Because it’s a central theme in this sharp and sassy story about one young earthling’s epic search for home.

Zira lives on the Planet Blorx. Blorxlings age much slower than earthlings, so she’s still a youngster at age seventy. And Zira wants a pet. Like a pet earthling. After all, pet earthlings can talk. They walk around on two legs just like blorxlings. They're very intelligent and can learn tricks. Some earthlings even learn to read and write. Zira finally gets her wish and picks a young earthling boy “out of all the other earthling kids in the pet pen.” She names him Rolo.

On an outing to the park later, Zira and Rolo run into BETA (Blorxlings for Ethical Treatment of Animals) protestors. They’re earthling rights activists. The protesters get Rolo thinking. He’s been a “pet” all his life, as have all the earthling generations before him. Was it always that way? Why does no one ever talk about it? Was it a secret? Where do earthlings come from? Nobody seems to know. How Rolo came to Blorx and why makes up the balance of this entertaining and enjoyable middle grade read.

Back to the story. Rolo escapes his harness, evades two animal control bots, and dashes to a subway station and a wormhole. The chase is on! Zira is after Rolo. Rolo and his buddies Smuffins and Quiggles are after answers. The Animal Control Force is after everyone, especially the “strays”!

Rolo and Company soon find themselves in a dingy, dilapidated town called Old Blorgton. With earthling catchers hot on their tail, Rolo and his fellow fugitive earthlings wind up in a “Pet Vortex” (pet store). He’s stunned to learn that earthlings aren’t native to Blorx. Why is their history missing? Determined to dig up some clues about their mysterious past, the earthlings dash to a museum. Here Rolo and his friends find more questions than answers. Like, why is their history missing?

Seasoned with gentle humor, this fresh and creative fantasy/sci fi story is loads of fun! For example, clever word play and puns abound such as Zira’s Mom bringing home a large “blizza” with “zepperoni” for dinner. Rambunctious acorn-chucking “rogents.” “A dark and swampy night” and a disappearance. “Can I get a plony?” A rocket ship dubbed the “Pea Pod.” (Hi, Captain Ahab.) And guess what? Rolo isn’t the only one with a missing connection to the past.

Strong writing, prodigious world-building skills, and robust characterizations move this story along at warp speed. So do Sofia Komarenko’s artful illustrations. There’s also action galore in this quick and quirky tome. It’s a little Lost in Space. A bit The Fugitive. A dash of Star Trek’s The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home. Stir in a some “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!” and you’ll serve up this witty and whimsical read with relish! Fresh, original, and punny (that’s not a typo), middle grade readers will love it!

Tip: Don’t miss the Epilogue! And don’t worry. “No earthlings were harmed during the making of this textual record.”

I didn’t want it to end. So let’s hope for a “pea-quel”!

Reviewed by

Lifelong bibliophile. Library Board Member. Select book reviews featured on my blog and Goodreads, etc. I'm a frank but fair reviewer, averaging 400+ books/year in a Wide Variety of genres on multiple platforms. Over 1,000 published reviews.

Zira’s Wish

About the author

Hans Ness is currently stationed in Pacifica, Calif., Earth to observe and report on the adorable earthling species. His first mission was to infiltrate a middle and high school to mind-control juveniles in the subjects of writing and literature. All hail Zorxablorg! view profile

Published on October 23, 2023

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30000 words

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Genre: Middle Grade

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