Lights on Wonder Rock
by Litchfield, David

A girl who wants to go to outer space more than anything believes that her dreams have come true when she befriends a space alien who lands in her backyard and stays for a wonderful visit before offering to take her along. By the award-winning creator of The Bear and the Piano. 35,000 first printing. Illustrations.

David Litchfield is the creator of the award-winning The Bear and the Piano and its companion, The Bear, the Piano, the Dog, and the Fiddle, as well as many other picture books. David lives with his family in Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom., Twitter: @dc_litchfield, Instagram: @david_c_litchfield.

*Starred Review* More than anything else in the world, little Heather wants an alien to come take her away so she can live among the stars, so she sits on Wonder Rock, flashing the beam of her flashlight on and off into the night sky. One night, she gets her wish, but her parents miss her, so she returns to Earth, and time passes, as time does. As she grows up and has children and grandchildren of her own, Heather returns to the rock over and over, calling out for her alien friend with everything from radio waves to electricity signals, but the spaceship never returns. Until, one night, Wonder Rock has just one more wonder in store. This book takes the reader on the emotional journey of an entire feature-length film in just a few perfect pages. It is an utterly unique reading experience, with unhurried wordless spreads giving way to multipanel sequences, with a handful of elegant sentences scattered throughout like stars. The aurora-like color scheme is jaw-dropping, drenching every frame in luxurious hues, and the depiction of light and shadow-from moonlight and flashlight beams to a setting sun or sparkling spaceship-is nothing short of expert. This book displays some of the best visual storytelling on (quite literally) the planet. Grades K-3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

An alien encounter keeps a woman hoping to recapture a magical moment all her life. One night Heather sneaks off into the woods with a flashlight, sitting on Wonder Rock and "hoping that someone out there would see her light." When something arrives, it comes in an explosion of bright colors, flashing lights, and glowing particles. From a flying saucer emerges a friendly creature who looks like a giant spoon. Heather draws a picture for it before she retreats to her family. For the rest of her life, Heather returns to Wonder Rock, hoping for a reunion but growing disenchanted. It's not until she is "an old lady" who has "nearly lost all hope, as people do," that the ship returns to, predictably, teach her that the family she has raised is the magic she was always seeking. Litchfield's slightly mournful story is punctuated by moments of thrilling escape, none more lovely than a single page of Heather's "off / and on" flashlight vigil, laid out as nine panels that go from giddy anticipation to disappointment to sudden fear, a technique deployed again when Heat her is old. But the text does not rise to the level of enchanting artwork, falling flat with tired clich├ęs and concluding with a thud. As with the crayon pictures that Heather uses to communicate with the ET, some ideas don't need words. Heather presents White; her family is interracial. These close encounters are better seen than read. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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