A Tuesday Ten: More Picture Book Science Fiction

A while back I created a list of Science Fiction Picture Books.  I figured it was high time to add a second list.

While fantasy and picture books tend to go together regularly, science fiction style picture books are much more rare–but certainly not unheard of!  So here’s today’s ten, from the world of picture books!

1.

Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot  by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mark Fearing (Schwartz and Wade, 2011)

I’m usually not a fan of these kinds of transplanted nursery tales, but I have to admit that the author not only communicates the plot of the three little pigs effectively, she does so with great use of science fiction elements.  The outer space setting is not merely a bit of scenery, it’s embodied throughout the story.  Adorable images help to make this a real winner!

2.

There’s Nothing to Do On Mars by Chris Gall  (Little, Brown Books 2008)

A familiar premise of the bored child who is angry and resentful of the change in his environment.  Only in this amazingly illustrated book, the child in question is a boy on Mars and when he is sent out to play, his adventures are wild indeed.  A delightfully charming book that captures a universal constant when it comes to kids.

3.

Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off To the Moon! by Dan Yaccarino (Scholastic, 1997)

It’s not too often we run into a book for toddlers in the science fiction range.  And I guess it can be argued that this isn’t exactly science fiction (we’ve already sent men to the moon).  But the simple rhyming story of a boy going on a trip to the moon is perfectly good imaginative science fiction, and a great intro for this young audience.  It makes for a fantastic read aloud!

4.

A Day With Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce (HarperCollins, 1990)

William Joyce is probably better known currently for his Guardians series and the Rise of the Guardians movie by Dreamworks.  But long before that he wrote a curious little book about a family of wacky and wild inventors called the Robinsons.   Disney’s Meet the Robinsons is loosely based on this picture book, but I love all the crazy inventions and the whimsical nature of the family.  It’s a great book for reminding kids that creativity can mean thinking waaay outside the box.

5.

The Robot and the Bluebird by David Lucas (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

Perhaps slightly more fable than straightforward science fiction.  A robot in a junk-heap with a broken heart offers a bluebird a friend in the empty spot where his heart used to be.  What follows is a remarkable journey for both of them, and an illuminating tale for readers.

6.

Boy & Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

On the other hand, this book is much more straight-forward.  Boy and Bot meet and become friends, but when the robot gets switched off, the boy thinks he’s sick and takes him home to care for him the way you would a sick human.  Later, when the boy falls asleep, the robot powers up and worries to find his friend “powered off” and attempts to help him as he would help a robot.  A  funny story about friends, their differences and their similarities.

7.

Why? by Lindsay Camp, Illustrated by Tony Ross (Putnam, 1998)

One little girl’s incessant questioning drives her family crazy.  But  her budding curiosity and maddening repetition of “why?” may save the day when fearsome aliens attempt to invade!  Alien invasion stories are not uncommon in picture book Science Fiction, but few are roundly befuddled by one fearless child insistent on asking questions.

8.

Space Case by Edward Marshall, illustrated by James Marshall (Puffin, 1980)

When we’re talking aliens in picture books, this is a classic of the trope.  An alien visits earth on Halloween.  Other kids mistake the alien for just another kid in a costume, allowing the alien to tag along.

9.

Marveltown by Bruce McCall (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

In the amazing Marveltown, the inventor adults give children the chance on Saturdays to try their own hand at invention.  When an accident sends several giant worker robots running amok, it’s up to the kids to invent a solution to the problem!

10.

Man on the Moon (A Day in the Life of Bob) by Simon Bartram (Candlewick, 2002)

This odd little picture book tells the daily life of Bob, from his routines on Earth in the morning, to his travel and arrival at the moon where he performs all sorts of duties for the visitors to the moon, all the while assuring them that there are no aliens around. (Of course, sharp-eyed readers will quickly know better).

So there you go!  Ten more science fiction picture books to share with all ages of SF fans!

What are your favorite picture books?  Comments welcome!

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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 September 3, 2013, in General Posts, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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