Take Me to Your BBQ


Aliens have landed on Willy's farm, and they're not leaving without a square dance and a square meal! So fire up that grill, lay on the barbeque sauce, and snatch up that fiddle. Told in verse, this rollicking story puts a twist on the typical encounter with the third kind. Adam McCauley's out-of-this-world illustrations match Kathy Duval's hoe-down rhymes like ribs and taters! Get ready for some extraterrestrial, lip-smacking fun.

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Aliens have landed on Willy's farm, and they're not leaving without a square dance and a square meal! So fire up that grill, lay on the barbeque sauce, and snatch up that fiddle. Told in verse, this rollicking story puts a twist on the typical encounter with the third kind. Adam McCauley's out-of-this-world illustrations match Kathy Duval's hoe-down rhymes like ribs and taters! Get ready for some extraterrestrial, lip-smacking fun.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At home on the range, underneath glorious Western skies, a farmer named Willy is whipping up a modest dinner on his barbecue grill. The delicious smells attract a flying saucer filled with little green men whose endless demands for food and entertainment turn Willy from fearful (“Yippee ki-yi! Yippee ki-yay!/ I think they might take me away!”) to annoyed (“Those little fellas just won’t stop;/ I keep on fiddlin’ ’til they drop”) in short order. Clever Willy steals the aliens’ spaceship, takes it to a distant star (his route is mapped through a night sky gatefold that tips a cowboy hat to classic SF comic books), and opens up a hoedown-themed eatery that might just give Star Wars’ Mos Eisley Cantina a run for its money. Although Duval’s (The Three Bears’ Halloween) rhyming is rather literal, it doesn’t much matter. McCauley’s (June and August) midcentury-inspired renderings and handsome vintage palette (his use of teal and deep red is particularly impressive) convey all the cheeky eeriness that this farmer vs. aliens story needs. Ages 3–5. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
When aliens land on Willy's farm, he and his hound dog are in for a surprise. These green, three-eyed aliens do not want to meet the world's leader or conquer Earth—all they want is some of Willy's barbeque and chili and a good, rousing square dance before they leave. Willy obliges them, but when he sees a golden opportunity, he and his dog take off on an adventure all their own, leaving the aliens in the dust. The story line is light-hearted, and the ending is both unexpected and funny. The names of the stars are unlikely to be familiar to young children, but their exotic sounds will capture and hold their attention. The illustrations are bold and colorful, and the drawings of the animals, especially the dog, are memorable and comical. This is, however, definitely a Texas-style regional book, with stereotyped "good ol' boy" illustrations and language. Whether readers will laugh with Willy, or at him, is a question that probably can only be answered by children and their parents. At the back of the book is a copy of "Willy's Out of This World Barbeque Sauce." Careful readers will note the publisher's ominous, if necessary, disclaimer that they are not responsible for any adverse health reactions to food prepared using this recipe. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—While tending his grill, an unsuspecting Willy is visited by "some colored lights from outer space," and three-eyed, little green men wearing spurs appear and apparently have a craving for some chili. With a knee-slappin' rhythm, the occasional hitch in the rhyme scheme, and a few too many gratuitous "yippee ki-yee's," Willy rustles up some grub and plays the fiddle till his guests drop. Then he pulls the ol' switcheroo and takes their ship for a ride. The final pages show Willy throwin' down at his very own BBQ joint on their home planet while the aliens tend his turnips. McCauley's illustrations use rich desert colors and comic proportions to play up the wacky story line. The recipe for "Willy's Out of This World Barbecue Sauce" might inspire a tasty food-themed program.—Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Many people boast that their barbecue is out of this world, but Willy's fine-smelling and lip-smacking meal attracts visitors from outer space. McCauley chooses a sweltering palette of yellow, brown and peach to cast the hardworking farmer on a hot Texas day. Observant readers will spot the flying saucer approaching as twilight falls. Soon, the inky black of space descends with the spaceship: "Some colored lights from outer space / Are lightin' up the whole dang place!" Here, pastel shots of color serve to spotlight the alarmed animals on the farm, while a sinuous, pale yellow, wavy band of smoke wafts through the scene. The amazing aroma has drawn the "small green men" out to sample the fare and dance a "DO-SI-DO…a-fore [they] go." They claim, "We don't want your leader, Willy, / Just your BARBECUE and chili." Duval chooses just the right amount of Texas twang to spice up the lively rhyming text. But soon, the aliens have taken over like unwanted party guests. They have had fun, wreaked some havoc and left the farm damaged. So Willy and his pet cat and dog board the UFO. A gatefold opens to show a map of their travels in space. The other side reveals the destination--a planet where various ET's are enjoying a meal and some music at Willy's new restaurant. The knee-slapping humor, retro feel of the illustrations and the included recipe for Willy's special sauce serve up some spicy preschool fun. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423122555
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/12/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 781,865
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Duval is the author of The Three Bears' Christmas, a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and The Three Bears' Halloween, both illustrated by Paul Meisel. She lives in Texas and recommends keeping a supply of green chili BBQ sauce on hand...just in case. Visit her at www.kathyduval.com.

Adam McCauley (www.adammccauley.com) has illustrated several books for children including Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar, Jon Sciezska's Time Warp Trio series, and Oh No, Not Ghosts! by Richard Michelson. He received the Society of Illustrator's Gold Medal for his work on The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz. He lives in San Francisco, CA. When he's not riding around in his UFO, Adam loves to barbeque.

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