cover image BEEGU


Alexis Deacon, . . FSG, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-374-30667-0

Beegu, a winsome, banana-yellow alien with floppy ears that trail on the ground, crash-lands on earth and sets off in search of her mother. Deacon's (Slow Loris) simple text follows Beegu on her wanderings; skillful pacing incorporates full-bleed spreads plus panel and spot illustrations, and the artwork emphasizes the dolefulness of earth, the city's gray gutters and stark fences. Beegu snuggles with a litter of puppies and joins a schoolyard full of children at recess, but the dog-shelter owner and a forbidding primary school teacher put an end to her short-lived fun. A desolate illustration depicts Beegu alone, stretched out under the night sky. When her parents come at last to rescue her, beaming up Beegu to their spaceship in a bath of green light, she tells them of her adventure (expressed as a word balloon filled with exotic-looking hieroglyphics). "Earth creatures were mostly big and unfriendly," Beegu tells them, "but there were some small ones who seemed hopeful." She gazes wistfully out the spaceship window at the receding earth: "Beegu would always remember those small ones." Beegu's black outline and solid yellow center evoke a celestial simplicity, and affectingly contrast with the solidly inked, earthbound human figures. The accomplished artwork underscores the children's easy acceptance of Beegu and highlights the book's uplifting message that acts of kindness have lasting effects. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)