The Spaceman

Candlewick. May 2024. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536226164.
K-Gr 2–When the titular orange-skinned extraterrestrial first arrives on Earth, he finds himself fairly unimpressed by his seemingly “ordinary” surroundings. Before he can return to his ship, however, he watches helplessly as it is carried off by a curious bird. The spaceman gathers his courage in pursuit of the “winged bandit,” soon finding himself encountering an inquisitive pup. Increasingly frustrated, the alien calls to the stars for help, only to notice them fading. In the light of day, the spaceman finds himself in awe of the flora, fauna, and wildlife, even enjoying a new round of play with the dog. Soon reveling in the joy of companionship and nature, the extraterrestrial ponders his next move, before making a decision that allows him to stay in this new beautiful place with a new friend. Cecil’s text is subtly humorous with its formal observational tone, with young readers sure to enjoy the misidentification of familiar plants and animals. The oil illustrations are particularly notable for their texture and depth, lending beauty to the inviting landscape.
VERDICT A clever and charming story of perspective, belonging, and finding oneself, this is a highly recommended for purchase.

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