There’s a trend on Twitter where users make a simple statement followed by the catch phrase “That’s it. That’s the tweet.” 


The catch phrase can be used with just about anything and often communicates obvious praise or emphasizes the “well, duh” of a situation.


You could see tweets such as:

  • Kansas is your NCAA men’s basketball national champion. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
  • I love books. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
  • Expand the court. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
  • Lucho “El Comandante” González! That’s it. That’s the tweet.


When it comes to Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith, the tweet would read: Weird. That’s it. That’s the tweet.


And that’s what I love about this book. In my classroom library,  I had a section labeled “Quirky and Odd.” Rabbit and Robot along with Grasshopper Jungle, another Andrew Smith book I wrote about here, were among the books in that section.


Cager Messer’s dad is rich: “Among the enterprises that made my father one of the five wealthiest people in America (and those ventures included a television program called Rabbit & Robot, as well as a line of lunar cruise ships like the one Billy and I were trapped on) is transporting deceased loved ones—not their ashes, but their actual bodies—to the surface of the moon, where they are laid out like vigilant sentinels, eternally gazing down, or up, or whatever at the planet of their origin.” (11–12)


But that’s not the weirdest part—not even close.


Billy and Rowan, Cager’s assistant, trick Cager into boarding the lunar luxury ship, The Tennessee, to help break Cager of his addiction to Woz. As the ship orbits the moon, simultaneous wars rage on Earth below while Billy and Cager watch from afar and wonder if they will be the last humans left alive.


They are on the ship with Cogs, artificial beings created to serve humans. Rabbit is slang for soldier, and Robots are the computer programmers who control the human-like Cogs. While on the ship, a weird space worm infects the captain, who is a Cog, and the infection soon spreads among all the Cogs on the ship causing them to eat each other’s faces and turn cannibalistic in all manner of gruesome ways.


There is also a tiger, a talking giraffe, and Parker, the valet Cog who epitomizes and embodies every ounce of hormonal teenagers.


Weird. Definitely weird, but also completely human because, in our own ways, we are all weird. In this world of Cogs and talking animals, we question what really makes us human and whether we are trapped into choices or are free to chart our own quirky and odd path.


Sure the book is laced with profanity, and it might be too “out there” for some, but then again, that also describes a lot of us too.


Also, there’s Parker. Just wait until you meet Parker.


Have students write interview questions for their own "alien" subjects—download the free lesson!



Michael Méndez Guevara is a former high school journalism and English teacher who spent his time in the classroom helping students see themselves as writers and fall in love with reading through the world of young adult literature. As an educational sales consultant with Perfection Learning®, Michael works with teachers and schools on improving their literacy instruction and providing resources to help students achieve academic success. He has taught elementary school, middle school, and high school and has worked as a district level leader and served on the Texas state standards revision committee that developed the state’s current literacy standards. He is the father of three adult sons, the youngest a student at the University of Kansas—Rock Chalk! Michael is working on a professional development book for literacy educators and currently has agents reading the manuscript of his young adult novel, The Closest Thing to a Normal Life. When he's not reading, writing, or running, Michael is fully committed to watching as much Law & Order as possible.