cover image New in Town (Pluto Rocket #1)

New in Town (Pluto Rocket #1)

Paul Gilligan. Tundra, $13.99 (88p) ISBN 978-0-7352-7192-0

Traveling alone, Pluto Rocket, an effervescent pink biomorphic alien with striped antennae, has just arrived on Earth to carry out a top-secret mission: find out what life is like in an Earth neighborhood. Soon, she meets Joe Pidge, a boater-wearing pigeon self-proclaimed as “the hippest, coolest, most awesome dude around.” In three chapters depicting classic fish-out-of-water shenanigans, the duo tour Joe’s quirkily diverse community—the diverting “neigborhood-ians,” as Pluto deems them, include more talking animals, Abraham Lincoln, a Brunhilda figure, and a T. rex—as the pigeon teaches Pluto how to rock her own personal style, adopt contemporary slang (“MIND BLOWN!”), and savor tacos. Joe isn’t solely in charge, however, and not all of his lessons go according to plan; upon discovering that the pigeon’s favorite taco stand is closed, the alien “formulates” an exact facsimile out of thin air. In this madcap graphic novel series’ inaugural tale, Gilligan (the King of the Mole People series) imparts somewhat standard lessons about friendship and sharing, but its saucy vibe and Pluto’s boundless curiosity, optimism, and extraterrestrial wizardry will easily melt even the most streetwise bird’s heart. Ages 6–9. (Jan.)