OK, you’ve read the SparkNotes, now it is time to see the movie.

READ REVIEW

E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL

THE CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED STORYBOOK

A picture-book adaptation of the iconic E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Simplified. Very.

For readers who fell through the time-space fabric of earthly life after 1982, this near goo-goo rendering for the young will provide the basics, if not the poignancy and power of “alien” affection, of the famous movie. The narrative adaptation is pared down to the bone but operates fairly smoothly, while the artwork offers some fine comic scenes, such as E.T. hiding among a pile of stuffed animals and E.T.’s various disguises. All the child characters have E.T.–size eyes, and although their heads are round, they are also as exaggeratedly large in proportion to their bodies as their alien friend’s. The basic plot is here, but the emphasis is on getting E.T. away from the bad guys, who don’t look nearly bad enough—though when they finally catch E.T. and put him in the coffinlike box, it’s pretty creepy. The flat, affect-free narration underplays the movie’s take on the magic of friendship, no matter how peculiar the “other,” and Elliott’s gesture of love in helping his friend return home is reduced to plot points. As in the film, principal characters are white, though Smith places some people of color in background roles.

OK, you’ve read the SparkNotes, now it is time to see the movie. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68369-010-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A metafictive treat.

I WILL CHOMP YOU!

Never mind a monster at the end, there’s a monster all the way through this book!

Starting on Page 1, the protagonist monster uses direct address to warn readers not to turn any pages. The book’s very title reveals the threat behind this warning, and Shea’s toothy monster—all mouth and head and bluster—seems ready to follow through with it. Disobeying the command provokes metafictive peril as warnings to readers persist, and various small creatures depicted on the page (a bird, a frog, and a wee bunny) flee its chomping jaws. The monster misses both them and disobedient readers, growing increasingly angry. Clever illustration choices make it seem as though the monster has chomped through the pages of the book, and soon its commands devolve into pleading. Why? “It’s because I have all my cakes back here, at the end of the book,” the greedy monster explains. In a fiendish ploy to trick readers, the monster offers to share, saying, “just come a little closer…” and a page turn reveals (yet another) “CHOMP!” Defeated, the monster resigns itself to readers’ progress toward the end of the book, and it chomps up all the cakes, leaving it with the just deserts of a bellyache. Throughout, Shea’s vibrant, silly pictures diminish the scariness of the story’s premise and deliver humorous characterization.

A metafictive treat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38986-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Sweet and effective.

ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!

It’s tough having a little brother, even if you’re a monster.

“Once there was Natalie,” a little red monster with big bulging eyes. “And then, there was Alphonse too,” bright blue and about half her size. Natalie doesn’t mind Alphonse, “mostly.” They sit companionably in Mom’s lap to listen to a story. They like to name the pigeons together and love making things. But sometimes Alphonse gets carried away, drawing on things that Natalie has made—even eating them. Natalie hates that. One day she finds him under the bunk beds eating her favorite book. “ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!” she shouts. When Alphonse timidly suggests that maybe they could fix the book (“with jam”), Natalie puts her fingers in her ears so that she can’t hear him, then goes for her bath. While she’s in the tub, she hears a series of strange noises: “a roaring tornado, / screeching beasts, and a thousand glass peas raining from the sky.” Natalie finds Alphonse in his room, sad and exhausted. All the noises that she heard were his outlandish attempts to fix the book. Her only question: “Are you hurt?” Hirst’s screen-printed illustrations, bright primary palette, simple text, and even her bespoke, faux hand-printed typeface (WB Natalie Alphonse) suggest the work of a young child, giving her simple tale an authentic charm.

Sweet and effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8103-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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