Are you in the mood for an adventurous trip? Perhaps to some place you've never been before? "Visit My Alien Worlds", by Donato Giancola, with text by Marc Gave, will "boldly take you where no one has gone before".  This picture book is full of exotic and unimaginable scenes of a galaxy far, far away in the year 2500. It reads like a travel log and as you go through the pages, it's as if you are traveling through this incredible time warp into space travel in the future. But this isn't just any space travel. Mr. Giancola takes you to the year 2500 where you meet Astron, a very tall, green life form, who wants to showoff his Tri-Star Republic.

As Astron takes you through his galaxy, he has you take note of points of interest. As you pass Saturn, he'll have you look out your window for the "asteroid miners working nearby." On the planet Beluchi, you'll have the experience of floating in a hotel and even in an entire city. This is also the place where everything magically appears or disappears from a clap of your hands. Like beds, kitchenettes, even a spray of water from mirrors, and then clap, and it's all gone. You can even find whatever kind of food you are looking for in this galaxy. There's even some of earth's food chains way out here. McGalaxy and ProtoseKing are just a few of the restaurants that are available.  You can select your food from a hologram menu where you just push a button and your choice will instantly be on display.  You can even smell it from the Smellavision available. On Astron's own planet, Dasu, you can visit and take part in a robot factory. There's a self serve section "where you can simulate the experience of being a robot, putting together a robot." There are many life forms throughout this interplanetary nucleus and you may get confused as to which are the intelligent "forms" and which are just animals.  Astron helps you out with this by telling you that only "forms" wear clothes. You will learn about the dragons on the planet, Arboreon and may want to catch a dragon match. The giant bees, along with the King Claws insects, might frighten you on the planet Krugor, so you may not want to leave your hovercraft.

The entire picture book reads like a travel brochure with Astron covering all of the questions that the reader/traveler might have. Some of the questions asked are:  "What should you pack?; How can you get there?; How can you stay safe?; How do you pay for things?" and so on.  These are typical questions one might ask oneself while preparing for any kind of a trip. But Mr. Giancola has painted the most breathtaking pictures that as you read the brilliant text by Marc Gave, (he even made up some understandable words that Astron uses), you will find yourself completely submerged into the picture opposite the text. There is so much detail and brilliance to each and every picture that you might find yourself believing that there really is an Andromeda Galaxy. Furthermore, there is a detailed map with a description of all the planets that orbit the three suns along with the kilometers between each sphere.

This is a most amazing book! It's the kind of picture book that would be best suited for children 8 or older. But that won't stop your younger children from wanting to look at and ponder over this beautiful book. Also, this is the kind of book that teachers should have on hand when trying to get their students' creative writing juices flowing! One look at a picture could begin a complete saga of unknown worlds to come. So, as they say on Star Trek, "Beam me up, Scotty!" You'll be in for an adventure!

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Todd Parr has just come out with a new series of picture books for younger children to help them feel better about themselves and the people they love the most. "The Feel Good Book" covers just about everything that makes a child feel good. From getting tickled to visiting a sick friend, your child will begin to get the idea that Mr. Parr is conveying and that is to "feel good!" Some of my favorite pages are: the pages with the child eating carrots with a rabbit eating beside him. The text reads, "Eating Carrots with a bunny feels good." When I read this to a class, they laughed and laughed; talk about feeling good! The boy is having a bath and there are rubber ducks everywhere, including on top of his head. The text reads, "Taking a bubble bath feels good." The response to the class was laughter! And the girl is brushing her very long hair while a lion brushes his mane. The text reads, "Brushing your hair with a lion feels good."

If this book doesn't make you feel good, I don't know what will!
"It's Okay to Be Different" is similar in that Mr. Parr makes anyone reading this book realize that everyone is different and can also feel different and even embarrassed at times, but that it's okay! What a great concept for children to accept.

"The Daddy Book" and "The Mommy Book" cover just about every kind of mom and dad, from mom's who like to cook and mom's who like to order out. There's dad's who have a lot of hair and there are dad's who have hardly any hair. Again, Mr. Parr's theme is they love you for who you are! His vibrant, bright colors are sure to grab the attention of your little ones and the text will only enhance the bond between you and your child! The books are published by Little Brown and Company. These are great books for the very young through 6 years of age.

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