cover image Companys Coming

Companys Coming

Arthur Yorinks. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-56751-7

When a flying saucer lands in the yard, and two aliens emerge, Shirley promptly invites them in for dinner. Her husband, less sanguine, phones the FBI, and they call in the military. By the time the visitors return, the house is surrounded by soldiers and tanks. As her relatives faint with apprehension, Shirley unwraps the gift the aliens offer. Her trust is rewarded, for the box contains a quite harmless blender (""And we don't even have one,'' she exclaims). Now assured of the aliens' peaceful intentions, everyone sits down together for a homemade meal. Yorinks displays his talent for droll, surprising humor in this offbeat tale about trust and hospitality. Through deliberate exaggeration and absurdity, he pokes fun at paranoid and militaristic responses to perceived threats from those different from ourselvesa timely message indeed. Small's illustrations reflect the story's quirkiness and humor, from Shirley and Moe's broad gestures and shrugs, to the bug-like aliens who understand the value of a nice appliance and a warm welcome. Ages 4-8. (February)