Have you ever wondered why there are so many bananas on the moon?
A squat, orange contraption, reminiscent of an old-fashioned scuba helmet, sits amid the moon’s craters. It is a secret base. The hatch creaks open, and readers meet a “spaceman,” a robot and a “cheeky monkey” (the British slang is fun to say, but the monkey doesn’t have much personality, cheeky or otherwise). It is the job of these three brave individuals to protect the Earth from an alien invasion. Their weapon of choice? Bananas. Extraterrestrials with bulging eyes, slippery tentacles and spiky fur slither out from a crater. Bananas are the only thing that will keep them happy (and full). Employing a controlled palette of stark black, white, orange and gray—with, of course, important accents of yellow, purple and green—the retro illustrations carry the story through some rough rhymes. (Even for slant rhyme, “one” and “gone” is a tough sell.) Paint-splattered stars and a robotic typeface add to the far-flung galactic flair. The concluding page hints, with the addition of a simple question mark, that the aliens may not be content for long.
Price’s debut falters a bit in engagement and energy, but visually? Out of this world. (Picture book. 3-6)