It’s FRIDAY, and that means it’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Picture Perfect Fridays. You can find a COLOSSAL list of links to picture book reviews on her site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/
My pick this week is one of my kids’ favorites – YOUR ALIEN. When you imagine an alien, do you picture something scary and green? The alien in YOUR ALIEN is green, but he’s anything but scary. In fact, he might be the cutest alien ever.
Title: YOUR ALIEN
Written by: Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by: Goro Fujita
Sterling Children’s Books, 2015, Fiction
Suitable for Ages: 3 and UP
Themes/Topics: friendship, family, empathy, home/homesickness, space/aliens
First two lines: “You will be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way. You will want to keep him.”
Brief Synopsis (from publisher): When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. But at bedtime, the alien suddenly grows very sad. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all? This funny, heartwarming story proves that friends and family are the most important things in the universe . . . no matter who you are.
Why I Love This Book: The conversational second-person narration invites the reader to imagine him or herself as the child who sees a lovable alien crash-land right outside his window. The friendship that develops between the two is heartwarming. I love how the alien helps you “see ordinary things in a brand-new way” and you empathize with the little green guy who grows sad at bedtime. The illustrations, with vivid colors and light in the daytime and a warm glow at night, match the heartfelt tone of the text. It’s also fitting that light – and hugs – play a key role in the ending.
Ideas for Teachers: Teachers could use this story as a springboard for discussions about astronomy and the possibility of life beyond Earth. Or the story could be used in a discussion about empathy and what it means to be a friend. Kids might also enjoy creating their own aliens. The Sticky Buffalo site has some great ideas or kids could make their aliens out of brown paper lunch bags or even large marshmallows.