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We're Off to Look for Aliens

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It’s a book within a book! Wonderfully wacky as ever, Colin McNaughton sets off in search of strange and silly aliens.

When an author gets his book in the mail, he’s nervous to have his family read it. And no wonder! It stars a guy who takes off in a rocket ship and meets a ghastly array of alien creatures — some smelly, some with eyes in their belly — and one lovely alien who steals his heart. Madcap rhymes and zany illustrations will tickle kids’ funny bones, while a book ...

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Overview

It’s a book within a book! Wonderfully wacky as ever, Colin McNaughton sets off in search of strange and silly aliens.

When an author gets his book in the mail, he’s nervous to have his family read it. And no wonder! It stars a guy who takes off in a rocket ship and meets a ghastly array of alien creatures — some smelly, some with eyes in their belly — and one lovely alien who steals his heart. Madcap rhymes and zany illustrations will tickle kids’ funny bones, while a book within a book drives home a final twist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Literally a book within a book (which is to say that a small paperback has been adhered to one of the pages of the hardcover), McNaughton's (Captain Abdul's Little Treasure) tale begins as the mail arrives with a copy of the new alien book written by the child narrators' father. He hands it to his sons, and "it" is the paperback ("This is what we read...."). The paperback is full of kid-pleasing poetry and wordplay: "We saw lots of smelly things,/ Never-seen-on-telly-things,/ Eyeball-in-their-belly-things," and it ends with a space explorer bringing home an alien wife. Better still, the pages that follow offer a terrific punch line. "Kids tend to like fairy tales and stuff," the boys say when they finish reading their father's book. "Who's going to want to read a true story?" Only on the last page do readers see a full view of the author's family, complete with googly eyes and extra arms, and realize the paperback is an autobiography. Kids will relish the joke as well as the innovative format. Ages 4-9. (June)

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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3

Employing the trademark goofy humor and kid-friendly illustrations that make his books popular with young audiences, McNaughton revisits outer space. Dad, a children's book author and illustrator (whose characters look an awful lot like those from McNaughton's oeuvre), receives a copy of his newest title in the mail from the publisher. He immediately hands it over to his family for review, nervously leaving to walk the dog rather than watch their response. Readers then open to a copy of his book, a paperback volume literally pasted onto a page of the framing story. This book-within-a-book tells a silly rhyming space adventure of a man (who looks a lot like Dad) and his dog (who strongly resembles the family pet) as they encounter and interact with extraterrestrial beings. Not only do they find adventure among the aliens, but they also find love. The family's response to this publication includes a comic twist that will be appreciated by children. Shared in a group setting or one-on-one, this engaging selection is certain to be enjoyed for the colorful cartoon illustrations and the imaginative story.-Piper Nyman, Brookmeade Elementary School, Nashville, TN

Kirkus Reviews
In a true testament to the old chestnut that truth is stranger than fiction, Dad shares his latest loopy children's book with his own kids. Mr. Mailman delivers a copy of We're Off to Look for Aliens, fresh from the printer. Dad hands it off to the family for their opinions and, too nervous to stay and watch them read, takes the dog for a walk. Indeed, Dad's book (a trim 8" x 8" square, literally pasted into the frame story) is as quirky as he is, depicting a daring mission to Mars, where colorful aliens play. Dad tells his adventure in catchy, repetitive verse; the hero looks a lot like Dad, just as the book's dog, Wilberforce, resembles the family dog. One more surprise awaits when Dad and dog return. McNaughton truly offers two books in one: In the wraparound book, his ink-and-watercolor illustrations are warm and realistic, while the book-within-a-book is bright and full of goofy cartoon shapes. Inspired metafictive read-aloud fun for an elementary audience. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763636364
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin McNaughton, an International Reading Association Children’s Choices favorite, has created more than sixty books for children, including three books about Captain Abdul. He lives in London.
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