A small child welcomes some unexpected visitors to Earth.
Tatulli’s second picture book (Daydreaming, 2016) opens upon the star-studded, black expanse of space as a small craft makes its way to Earth. The ship lands in a swirl of mystery, and throngs of people crowd around it, wondering “why did they come? What do they want? Why are they here?” And within moments, panic ensues. A police captain yells that they must be here to steal things; a news reporter insists that they came to take over TV shows in a grab for fame; and a military general warns that they came with the simple goal of taking the entire planet. Tatulli has an eye for visual perspective designed to heighten narrative tension as the lively illustrations capture the crowd’s rising frenzy of terror and intense protective measures. All of it comes to a striking standstill when Stephen Sprout, a small child known for his trepidation, calmly calls for order and gives his own sweet explanation for the aliens’ visit. The somewhat message-driven (though animatedly so) reminder of the potential harm and isolation that fear can drive us to is certainly timely, and a youthful voice of reason never goes out of style, even if Tatulli breaks little new ground. His humans are racially diverse; Stephen has light brown skin, brown hair, and blue eyes.
A lightly wacky take on a valuable message. (Picture book. 4-7)