Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: ALIEN INVADERS by Lynn Huggins-Cooper

Huggins-Cooper, Lynn. Alien Invaders. Illus. Bonnie Leick. McHenry, IL: Raven Tree, 2010. ISBN 0-9724973-9-8. $16.95.

This very funny perspective on bugs as the real aliens is deadpan right on both in words and eye-popping illustrations. I have it in this non-fiction section because everything said in it is true, but it is really unclassifiable, as it is imagination at its best. In pithy prose, insect and other wildlife conservationist Huggins-Cooper homes in on suspicious bug traits that give us regular folk the creeps, like “They watch us with camera-like eyes. Are they taking pictures?” Or, “I hear them whisper in secret languages. I see them dance strange dances.”

How is this funny?

The art elevates the already excellent text onto a higher level. Actually, this is my first time seeing Bonnie Leick (‘Like”)’s art and I’m stunned. The “They set up camp in our gardens” painting is 3-D and must be, the observer concludes, done digitally. Yet, the book’s flap states Leick’s medium is watercolor. Well, hats off! The art for the “Are they taking pictures?” page ought to be framed. It reminds one of the 3-Dish photos of Dogs!, and are all the more impressive for being as hilarious and memorably peculiar, yet done with paint.

I’m forwarding this to an American Library Association friend to ask she look at it for the Caldecott.

Alida Allison

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