cover image Tomatoes from Mars

Tomatoes from Mars

Arthur Yorinks. HarperCollins, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205070-0

Readers familiar with Mad magazine will recognize Drucker's (Whitefish Will Rides Again! with Yorinks) caricature-studded cartoons, at once silly and sophisticated. The former rather than the latter adjective best describes Yorinks's story in service of a punchline, in which giant tomatoes from Mars descend first on Minneapolis, Minn., then disperse across the U.S. Panic breaks out among residents attempting to flee the flying fruit. ""Was this the end of civilization as we know it?"" asks the tongue-in-cheek narrative, as the invading culprits stain the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the White House with red sauce (which looks quite a bit like blood). Exclaiming that ""the whole country is getting shmeared!"", the president (who bears a striking resemblance to Jason Robards) vows to ""get rough"" with the tomatoes, yet an Einstein look-alike scientist named Dr. Shtickle saves the day. Kids may find something to chuckle at, but Drucker's art invites comparison to two more clever works featuring food afloat: Judi Barrett's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and David Wiesner's June 29, 1999. Unlike those works, this shtick doesn't quite cut the mustard. All ages. (Oct.)