Monday 28 March 2016

Xalien the Purple Alien

Xalien the Purple Alien by Michelle Path, illustrated by Charlotte Roberts (Rowanvale Books, UK) PB RRP $16.96 IBSN 9781909902503

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Looking like a picture book, this is actually an illustrated book for readers aged 5 to 8 years. Siblings Jessica, Adam and Sarah are watching stars from their bedroom window when they think they see a falling star. However, it’s not a star but a spaceship crashing to Earth. While the children are sleeping, a small, purple female alien (Xalien) emerges from the ship. She meets the children next morning: after Xalien eats pebbles in the garden, the children take her indoors for breakfast. Xalien finds human food as weird as the children find eating pebbles! Fitting into Earth ways is certainly quite an experience for the lost alien.

In this, the first of numerous proposed (and already published) books in a series, Xalien, disguised in the girls’ clothing, goes with the children to a fair, another exciting happening for her. Happily, at the end of the story, Xalien’s folk come to rescue her and she zooms back to the planet she came from.

This is a simple story, ideal for reading-aloud as a bed-time tale, but it can be read by a child his or herself. It could have done with some professional proof-reading as there are several punctuation errors. It would also have been good to have known the reactions of the children’s parents (when they drive purple-faced Xalien and the others) to the fair, and presumably they are there when it’s dinner time.

The coloured illustrations on every page show bright colours and stylized pictures of the humans and the alien. No doubt most young readers will enjoy the humour of a very odd stranger fitting into a new family. The author has succeeded in her intention of showing acceptance despite differences.

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