If You Come to Earth
by Blackall, Sophie (ILT)

In this picture book, a boy writes a letter to an imagined alien, explaining all the things he will need to know about Earth and the people who live here-and adding a postscript asking what the alien might look like.

Sophie Blackall has illustrated many books, including the Ivy + Bean series, Ruby's Wish, and has twice won the Caldecott Medal. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about her at www.sophieblackall.com.

*Starred Review* The cover establishes the concept with a young boy looking up from Earth, drawing on a long roll of paper that spirals into the sky. His message is being received by a spaceship, hovering close to the sun. As he adds narrative to his pictures, he sends an invitation: "Dear Visitor from Outer Space, / If you come to Earth, / here's what you need to know." Hand-lettering furthers the feeling that the boy is writing the words himself. With ink-and-watercolor art that is vivid, delicate, and precise, Blackall composes intricate spreads that express the vast diversity of the planet, ranging from wider scopes-the solar system, land, and sea-to closer up-homes, transportation, families, bodies, food, and animals. The boy describes people communicating with words, sign language, Braille, art, and music. The sense is that if you are on Earth, you belong, though the boy also acknowledges that bad things happen here. Some don't have enough to eat; lose homes to fire, flood, or war; get sick or have accidents. Nonetheless, he thinks visitors would find his world beautiful. As a two-time Caldecott winner, Blackall is deservedly celebrated, and here she pairs her accomplished artwork with a story children will want to read and a message that resonates. This is one to take your time with, savor, and share with others. Preschool-Grade 2. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

To take care of one another and the Earth, we must truly see one another as unique and valued. A young child with light beige skin, wispy brown hair, and a gnomish red cap writes an invitation: "Dear Visitor from Outer Space, / If you come to Earth, / here's what you need to know." What follows is a child's introduction to this complex planet that begins in the child's room, spins out to outer space, then back to Earth and its geography and topography, then to the people who inhabit this planet—where they live, how they live, and what they do. Along the way, outer-space visitors (and readers) learn about families, careers, clothing, transportation, fauna, even the American Sign Language and Braille alphabets. Throughout, diverse people are distinctively, carefully portrayed, emphasizing representation and visibility. In a library scene, the narrator says, "It's better when we help each other"—an urgent response to a portrayal of war on the preceding spread. Two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall balances eye-catching double-page spreads with white space, even focusing on a single powerful image—for instance, one giant bird formed from dozens of small birds fit together. Ribbons appear throughout the book, as winding blue rivers and spools of illustrated paper covered with the narrator's extraterrestrial drawings. Each rich illustration invites return visits to investigate all the small, and big, details it contains. An author's note explains the global origin of this offering. An introduction to Earth for children big and small who live in this galaxy, or beyond. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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