Breaking News: Alien Alert
David Biedrzycki has been creating illustrations for book publishers, advertising agencies, magazines, and design firms since 1980. His art has graced the cover of KidSoft magazine, New England Aquarium billboards and children's software packaging, such as "The Amazon Trail" and "Odell Down Under." His clients include Celestial Seasonings®, After the Fall Juices(tm), IBM, and Newsweek.
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In space, no one can hear you party. Punctuating his story with special news reports complete with crawl feeds, Biedrzycki returns to the form that served him so well in Bear Alert (2014) and Bears to the Rescue (2016). Here, our three bear heroes find themselves unexpectedly sucked into a UFO along with a strange assortment of wildlife as well as farm and zoo animals. The action then cuts between the experiences of the startled creatures and the frenzied Channel 3 News reports for the people back on Earth. When at last the aliens land and discharge their guests, it becomes clear that these space denizens are more akin to Close Encounters of the Third Kind folks than Independence Day meanies: All the disembarking creatures sport goody bags from a birthday party that was truly out of this world (as memorialized on the rear endpapers). Rather surprisingly, the TV-news format feels fresh as ever, and Biedrzycki knows how to use its storytelling tropes to the book's best advantage. His Adobe Photoshop illustrations keep the action hopping and include such contemporary touches as smartphones and chyrons even as old-fashioned test patterns and a predigital TV (with cable box atop) make an occasional appearance. Considering the real-world 24-hour news cycle, these ursine antics amid the stars make for oddly comforting reading.
Chad Newsworthy and the News 3 crew from Bear Alert (2014) and Bears to the Rescue (2016) are backwith a new scoop. This time, according to eyewitnesses, woodland, farm, and zoo animals have beencarried off by a spaceship. Most of the story focuses on the television coverage, including brief interviewswith experts and involved individuals. A couple of quick glimpses of the bewildered captives are insertedbetween clips. After a day of much brouhaha, the spaceship reappears and the animals descend the loweredwalkway carrying party accoutrements. Chad declares, “We are not the only party animals in theuniverse!” and all is well. Faux photos featured on the end pages show that the shindig was a seven-yearoldalien’s birthday party. The crisp computer-generated illustrations range from brightly coloredtelevision images to dark, atmospheric night and space scenes. Although the humans dominate the story,the adorable animals are the true stars—one wishes there were more party scenes and less news coverage.No matter, it’s on to the next news cycle.
ISBN: 978-1-63289-645-2 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-63289-646-9 PDF
Page count: 32
11 x 9
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 1. Standards 1-7 and 10.
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 2. Standards 1, 3-7, and 10.