In this picture book with an intentionally easy-to-read text, a bird and an extraterrestrial find friendship while far from home.
Peeper, a little brown bird, flutters across the page in an erratic path. Zeep, a purple space creature, soars alone in the vastness of dark blue space. Both fall to Earth, Peeper breaking his wing, Zeep breaking his spaceship. They lose themselves in the woods, then meet. Needing help to get to their respective homes, they seek out A. Frog, who resides in a green geodesic dome and appears to be an engineer or a scientist, judging by visual clues such as pencils, a drafting board, rulers, and tools. Frog’s stove is a Bunsen burner, and the window flower vases are lab flasks. Unfortunately, Frog is not immediately successful, catapults and jet-propulsion packs failing to get Peeper and Zeep where they need to go; a larger dome they work on together seems to be the solution. The ending, in which Peeper’s and Zeep’s families somehow find them and join them in the dome, is emotionally satisfying but logically less so. Gudeon’s cartoonish forms are constructed with thick outlines and flat, computer-generated pigment. Occasionally background objects and scenery appear as brush strokes of opaque paint and watercolor. Although the mostly one-syllable, four- to six-word sentences string together to form a story of trial and error, it is the visual narrative that really tells this story.
A sweet story that’s not without its narrative gaps. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)