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STRANGE PLANET by Nathan W. Pyle


The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature

by Nathan W. Pyle ; illustrated by Nathan W. Pyle

Pub Date: June 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-304974-1
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Pyle brings his Strange Planet cartoons to a child audience with a little help from a “strange furry creature.”

Introduced first on Instagram, then in book-length collections for an adult audience, Lifegiver and Offspring are two blue extraterrestrials intent on understanding Earth. They build this understanding through observations articulated through hyperliteral phrases that are sure to provoke readers’ laughter. After arising from a “rest slab” (bed), Offspring joins Lifegiver for a breakfast of “criss-cross floppers” and “sweet sauce” (waffles and syrup) before they begin recording their observations of a strange creature in their midst. Readers will recognize this creature as a white cat and will get a kick out of how the ETs describe and attempt to reenact its behaviors as it hides, sneaks, climbs, knocks things over, “observe[s] a flying creature” (a bird), plops down on their “observations document” (notebook), “vibrates when happy” (purrs), and rests. The uncluttered cartoon style allows the wry text to command attention, and while having a good laugh may be the main takeaway here, kids might just hone observational skills, too, and be inspired to pick up their own “ink cylinder[s]” (pens) to draw or write down their thoughts about the world around them. Kids who read this independently may well find extra fun in surprising their adults with new vocabulary; families who read it together may be inspired to make up their own. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Don’t be a stranger to this one.

(Picture book. 5-12)