Goat in tow, ‘Billie Blaster’ is loads of fun

Goat in tow, ‘Billie Blaster’ is loads of fun

Goat in tow, ‘Billie Blaster’ is loads of fun
Billie Blaster and the Robot Army from Outer Space by Laini Taylor and Jim De Bartolo.

Sunny Solomon Book Review(Oct. 1, 2023) — Get ready for an out-of-this-world recommendation for “Billie Blaster and The Robot Army from Outer Space.”

I’m still not sure why I requested a review copy of the latest graphic book by Laini Taylor and Jim De Bartolo, but it’s been a tough year, and maybe I thought I’d need something to lift my spirits.

I had a new mystery review ready, but it will have to wait. Some might think recommending a graphic novel marketed to the younger reader is not likely to be taken seriously by the well-rounded and sophisticated readers of The Pioneer. My hope is that I’m not the only adult who needs a boost.

Billie Blaster is the daughter of parents who are both scientists. If graphic novels are to be taken seriously, they prefer not to be called comic books. However, the first picture and ballooned text made me laugh out loud. “She might look like an ordinary girl …” Ordinary? Not according to the book cover.

Billie is a young scientist herself, already winning school science awards. She lives on Earth, an Earth well into the future. Her nemesis is her schoolmate Hector Glum. Prepare for puns. Hector is also a junior scientist, angry at winning only second place to all Billie’s firsts.


Through a lot of experiments performed by Billie, her parents and Hector, Hector is shrunk to 4 inches high. You can’t really say 4 inches tall with a straight face – another out-loud laugh.

Not all the experiments turn out quite as expected. In addition to Hector’s 4 inches, he has also become mean and revengeful. And an award-winning experiment by Billie has gone in an unexpected and seriously dangerous direction. The result of both these experiments creates the plot for this delightful story of an evil leader of a distant planet (Bonkers), who, with the help of the now evil Hector, is determined to take over Earth.

Of course, the hero is Billie Blaster and her goat friend – who has received a brain booster thanks to an earlier experiment by Billie’s mother. Billie and her goat build a spaceship and rocket off to thwart the evil plan of Bonker’s emperor.

Does Billie Blaster succeed? No spoilers here. Within the wildly colorful pages of Billie’s story, are life topics all of us, from children to adults, must deal with: families, unfairness, disappointment, friendships, kindness, science.

The illustrations come alive with color and settings on the page. The humor is there for kids and certainly for adults who dare to remember being kids. I’m glad I requested “Billie Blaster.” It is already, face out, on the bookshelf of books just for the grandkids. Hector Glum has not gone away – our girl Billie will be back.

Sunny Solomon
Sunny Solomon
Freelance writer at Clayton Book Club | Website

Sunny Solomon holds an MA in English/Creative Writing, San Francisco State University. She is a book reviewer for “The Clayton Pioneer” and her poetry and other writing has been published in literary journals, one chapbook, In the Company of Hope and the collection, Six Poets Sixty-six Poems. She was the happy manager of Bonanza Books, Clayton, CA and Clayton Books, Clayton, CA. She continues to moderate a thriving book club that survived the closure of the store from which it began. Sunny currently lives next to the Truckee in Reno, NV.