cover image Take Me to Your BBQ

Take Me to Your BBQ

Kathy Duval, illus. by Adam McCauley. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-2255-5

At home on the range, underneath glorious Western skies, a farmer named Willy is whipping up a modest dinner on his barbecue grill. The delicious smells attract a flying saucer filled with little green men whose endless demands for food and entertainment turn Willy from fearful (“Yippee ki-yi! Yippee ki-yay!/ I think they might take me away!”) to annoyed (“Those little fellas just won’t stop;/ I keep on fiddlin’ ’til they drop”) in short order. Clever Willy steals the aliens’ spaceship, takes it to a distant star (his route is mapped through a night sky gatefold that tips a cowboy hat to classic SF comic books), and opens up a hoedown-themed eatery that might just give Star Wars’ Mos Eisley Cantina a run for its money. Although Duval’s (The Three Bears’ Halloween) rhyming is rather literal, it doesn’t much matter. McCauley’s (June and August) midcentury-inspired renderings and handsome vintage palette (his use of teal and deep red is particularly impressive) convey all the cheeky eeriness that this farmer vs. aliens story needs. Ages 3–5. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Mar.)