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Publication: The Horn Book Magazine
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 28505
ISSN: 00185078
Journal code: IHBO

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara; illus. by Mark Fea ring Primary SchwartzS Wade/Random 40 pp. 9/11 978-0-375-866894 $16.99 Libraryed. 978*375-96689-7 S19.99 e-booked. 978-0-375-98694-9 S10.99

In this "universal" take on a classic tale, an alien family's cozy home on Mercury has become a bit too cozy, so Mama sends her three children off to find a planet of their own, with a warning to watch out for the Big Bad Robot. The siblings each choose a different location, despite Mama's advice to stick together: a Mars rover for impatient Bork, a satellite orbiting Saturn for energetic Gork, and a house on Neptune for cautious Nklxwcyz. "Then, one galactic dawn, there was a rumbling in the universe." The Big Bad Robot finds Bork first and demands that she "Pull over! PULL OVER!" to which she pluckily replies, "Not by the wheels of my trusty space rover!" Bork escapes, and she and Gork seek refuge at Nklxwcyz's sturdy selfmade house, which is where the Big Bad Robot ultimately meets its explosive doom. Fearing's little green aliens are anything but scary; they look like typical kids (with an unnatural number of eyes). The Big Bad Robot, however, practically blasts off the page; his five red eyes and large metal frame shake with speed and rage. Funny details abound in Fearling's digital collage illustrations (such as Gork toasting a marshmallow on "too hot" Venus) and in McNamara's text, which concludes with the aliens deciding to "phone home" to Mama for a bedtime story. With robotic onomatopoeia ("GREEP BOINK MEEP"), a name like Nklxwcyz, and outer space as the setting, this is guaranteed to be a read-aloud hit. ASHLEY WARING

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