Science Fiction in Picture Books

Science fiction–it’s not just for chapter books!   They may only make up a sliver of picture book titles, but there are still a fair number of them.  A great way to share this genre with the younger audience.

Alistair’s Time Machine by Marilyn Sadler (Simon and Schuster, 1986)

Marilyn Sadler’s Alistair series is sadly out of print, but these wild stories of a very ordered “boy of science” are charming and remembered fondly by many readers.  Two of the stories were featured on Reading Rainbow episodes.   (Ages 5-9)

June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner (Clarion 1992)

This author/illustrator is well known for the strange, the bizarre and the surreal.  But this particular story features a science project that may–or may not–have gone awry! (Ages 5-9)

Company’s Coming by Arthur Yorinks  (Knopf, 1988)

An utterly charming read about a suburban couple expecting company . . . who wind up with some outer space visitors they didn’t anticipate.  But kindness and spaghetti will win the day.  A great story for kids whether or not they love science fiction!  Don’t miss the author’s other SF books: Tomatoes from Mars, and  Company’s Going .  (Ages 5-9)

Robot Zot! by John Sciezka, illustrated by David Shannon  (Simon & Schuster, 2009)

Alien invades earth kitchen! There’s adventure, danger, romance–all the things Zot is looking for.  The illustrations magnify the hilarity of this over-the-top alien’s invasion.  A great read aloud. (Ages 3-6)

Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed (Philomel, 2007)

A funny picture book that inspired a not so great movie. Breathed’s vocabulary rich story about a boy who has to rescue his mom from aliens who have kidnapped her is pretty fantastic–but still qualifies to my thinking.  (Ages 8-12)

The Everything Machine by Matt Novak (Roaring Brook Press, 2009)

An apt fable of a planet where a  machine does everything for the people of the community . . . until the day it breaks down and people learn how to do for themselves.  Even when the repairman comes to fix the machine, the residents have learned a pointed lesson.  A great book to inspire discussion and debate.  (Ages 5-9)

Jack and the Night Visitors by Pat Schories (Front Street, 2006)

A wordless story of a boy and his dog (Jack) and an alien encounter.  Nicely told through images, and a genuinely charming little book. (Prek-5)

Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat (Hyperion, 2010)

Girl builds giant robot for science project.  Robot  promptly goes on a rampage!  This is a classic sort of science runs amok plot, with lots of action adventure styling for kids.  Great to see a girl scientist in this plot line.  There’s a second book featuring our science adventuress on another adventure: Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine To Save History) (Or at Least My History Grade).  (Ages 6-12)

These are just a few of the science fiction picture books out there!  What other titles can you name?

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About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on March 10, 2013, in Lists and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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