cloth, 28 p., $16.99
With a name like Lauren Child, one could say this author and artist was born to commune with the kid in us. In What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean?, we are all encouraged to become ecowarriors when our protagonist restates the bumper sticker slogan, "think globally, act locally" with her phrase "saving the planet on my street."
In a rally that would make treesitter Julia Butterfly Hill proud, mighty metaphors such as a tree drawn with vacuum hose attachment and calico collage leaves enlist and instruct in a fun way. Clichés are used in a context to which children can relate and that resonate with the voice of our elders.
Illustrations and fonts are encoded with symbolism children grasp intuitively: the eyes of Clarice's teacher are penetrating, intense scribbles; dialogue typefaces express cadence and delivery for those of us who read aloud "in character." This style and a great story convey the empowering message that we can make a difference.
— Kathy Judge