Booklist (July 2006 (Vol. 102, No. 21))
Gr. 3-5. In this gently amusing chapter book, the versatile Asch addresses two timeless subjects: the evil of little brothers and the joys of invention. Alex's younger sibling is "the biggest pain in the butt this side of Alpha Centauri."But Alex, an immodest kid genius, has a plan: he carefully transforms cardboard boxes and duct tape into a spaceship, a micro-blaster, and a duplicator. He is going to the end of the universe to escape. Jonathan, who thinks Alex is making him a castle, has other ideas. When the duplicator makes too many Alexes and Jonathans, both brothers, upon returning to their single selves, finally find some common ground. Told in Alex's voice, the sf fantasy is extended with informative references to math and science, a subplot about Alex's crush on a neighborhood girl, and many illustrations--primarily sketches of the contraptions. Readers who like to tinker and dream will be the best audience for this tongue-in-cheek tale, in which the lines between imagination and reality are intriguingly blurred.