Friday, January 25, 2019

Review - Mario and the Aliens

Mario and the Aliens
by Carolina Zanotti
illustrated by Tamypu
Date: 2019
Publisher: Happy Fox Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This charmingly illustrated children's picture book is all about the importance of having fun with "real toys" like bikes, balls, and dolls--instead of computers and electronics. Written for kids aged 5-7, Mario and the Aliens tells the sweet story of a little boy who makes friends with space visitors. Little Mario is a computer geek who is on the computer day and night. He will not leave his computer. Suddenly he hears a commotion in the back yard--the aliens have landed! These creatures have heard about all the cool things that earth kids do to play, and they want to have fun too. Even though Mario doesn't know anything about riding a bike or playing tag or hide-and-go-seek, he soon learns how with his alien friends. Satisfied at having discovered the secrets of earth children, the aliens return to their planet, while Mario learns the joys of playing outside.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Mario is just like a lot of other Earth kids: he loves playing on his computer. But then a trio of alien kids shows up in his backyard, wanting to play. They think computers are boring, so they almost leave... but then Mario introduces them to the ways that Earth children play.

I like this book's message about getting off your butt and actually doing something. Mario shows the aliens how to ride bikes and play soccer, and they even have some fun with his little sister's dolls and beauty supplies. Eventually, the aliens have to go home, but Mario promises to show them some new fun stuff to do when they return. It's kind of sad that his soccer ball was down in the basement, unused, but I guess it's meant to demonstrate how kids have gotten away from playing with physical toys.

The writing had a couple of typos (including one glaring one that replaced "pedal" with "peddle"; you don't "peddle" a bike!) but it was otherwise decent. The illustrations are really the star here, though. They're colourful and fun, and depict the interesting-looking aliens well without having them look too scary. The pictures had almost a retro sort of feel to them, which I liked.

I'm kind of hoping there will be a sequel where the aliens return and Mario can show them some more non-computer things to do. The message could definitely be continued, especially since they really only did three things (mentioned above).

Thank you to NetGalley and Happy Fox Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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