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WHEN AN ALIEN MEETS A SWAMP MONSTER by Cornelius Van Wright Kirkus Star


by Cornelius Van Wright ; illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-25623-3
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

First impressions based on wild speculation and leaps of imagination can be misleading, but fun and friendship can result.

J.T. Boi sets out on an adventure wearing a helmet and goggles and riding his scooter, which is equipped with “[v]erometric outerhull stabilizers.” He speeds down the hill and lands in a muddy swamp, where he comes face to face with a terrifying monster. Alik is really an alligator who was reading his comic book, Attack of the Aliens, when he was interrupted and frightened out of his wits by what looked to be the very alien he was reading about. They scream and run home in panic. They are met with utter disbelief by their respective siblings, so they head back to the swamp, where they meet in an outcome that is “[t]oo totally AWESOME!” Van Wright turns the whole silly affair into a hilarious romp with easy, breezy language that captures the essence of little boys (or little alligators). The type’s font is varied to reflect the levels of hysteria and panic, and it is set in the delightfully named “Delicious and Dynamo.” Large-scale watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are appropriately goofy and perfectly depict the high-speed action and the rampant emotions of the characters. Small details add to the fun as young readers notice Boi’s low-slung shorts, Alik’s brother’s science book by Dr. Spekulate and Boi’s sister’s popped bubble gum.

Total laugh-out-loud joy. (Picture book. 3-7)