Kitamura, S. (1989). UFO Diary. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux
Appetizer: An alien shares his story (a diary entry?) of how he/she/it took a wrong turn and landed on Earth where he/she/it made a new friend.
I put the diary entry part as a question above because there is no actual mention (or showing) of a diary throughout the story. Instead, this is a first person account in an alien's childlike voice. This makes me wonder if Kitamura and the publisher had trouble picking a name for the book.
I liked the illustrations of this book. The dark blues that capture space are beautiful. The faces the human boy makes when he sees the narrator are humorous and cute (although, the boy is so pale, he looks kinda like a particularly expressive zombie).
The strengths of these illustrations is how completely they're given from the perspective of the alien. The visitor's body is never shown and the reader is always seeing from his/her/its perspective so they can see the familiar world in a new light.
The final illustration--I won't give away what it is of--reminded me strongly of one of the sketches in de Saint-Exupery's classic, The Little Prince. I'd be willing to bet money this was done intentionally. Let's say, two dollars, maybe? (I never said I'd bet a lot of money.)
"On Monday, I took a wrong turn in the Milky Way."
"There in front of me was a strange blue planet, bright as a glass ball."
"...until I saw a creature. It stared at me as I landed."
"What an odd-looking thing!
It spoke and I could not understand'
but I smiled. It smiled back.
Then I knew he was going to be my friend."
To Go with the Meal:
This book presents a fun perspective. It shares the relatable tensions of going to a new place and wanting to make friends (even when the potential friends don't speak the same language).
Since a white bunny and several other animals are shown in a number of the illustrations, students can seek out and find the bunny.
Also, after having read (or heard aloud) this book, kids could write their own diary entries from the perspective of someone or something that has had different experiences from their own. To help present an activity like this one, a teacher could also share some of Doreen Cronin's picturebooks, including Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, Diary of a Fly, and on and on.
Tasty Rating: !!!