This is a silly fantasy disguised as science fiction that I loved as a child. Published in 1957, Rusty is building his own space ship in the family garage out of wood, when his neighbor Susan comes by to find out what he’s up to. Rusty’s dog Cookie is happy to see Susan, while Rusty would rather have another boy to play with, but Susan will do in a pinch. They’re interrupted by a heavily disguised person who lays claim to the round metal saucer Rusty has found and used as the nose shield on his ship. Before they know it, all three (and the dog) are launching into space through the power of that flying saucer, and their kidnapper is revealed as a lizard-like alien named Tiphia from some distant world. Tiphia has been tasked by his leader Gwump to locate and retrieve the missing saucer, and he’s bringing the children and dog too. One problem is that Tiphia has suffered a memory loss on his trip, and no longer remembers where his home planet is, so the group ends up taking a tour of our solar system to find it.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this book is the wonderful illustrations by comics artist Bernard Krigstein. They really make the story much more fun, and Krigstein manages to make the author’s poor attempts at science somewhat more believable. Still a fun read and recommended.