Who would have thought Hilo could crash back to Earth with even less than when he arrived the first time (a name, shiny underpants, and a bad case of amnesia)? Yet somehow, Hilo manages to do just that when he returns to Earth (or at least his toe does) in Hilo: Saving the Whole Wide World by Judd Winick.
Hilo has returned, but as his friend D.J. explains, “It was a little weird” (1). After disappearing through a portal at the end of The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, Hilo returns to Earth in pieces. For normal little boys, returning in bits might be a problem, but not for alien robot Hilo, who quickly reassembles and warns his friends D.J. and Gina that his nemesis Razorwark is coming to Earth. To keep Razorwark away from Earth, Hilo ends up stranding himself in the human world and must begin adjusting to everyday human life. However, bullies at school, Hilo’s slowly returning memories, and aliens invading Earth through portals keep life far from peaceful or ordinary for Hilo and his friends.
As with the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy by Ben Hatke, the second installment of the Hilo series lacks some of the novelty of the pilot book. That said, though, Saving the Whole Wide World is still an entertaining read and a fitting sequel to The Boy Who Crashed to Earth. New characters like a magical warrior cat named Pollandra add a touch of freshness to the story, and the focus on friendship and courage provides the story with heartwarming and constructive themes.