Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Dalmartian: A Mars Rover's Story by Lucy Ruth Cummins

I loved the play on words found in the title for today's read. And the green spots. So cute and clever! This is a science fiction picture book and promises to bring in quite a few familiar aspects, while shooting off into alien dreams. In other words, I have no idea what to expect but hope it will be fun. 

Get ready because I have a feeling that these aliens aren't exactly what one might expect!

A Mars Rover's Story
by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8


From the bestselling creator of Stumpkin and Vampenguin comes a whimsical picture book about the unexpected friendship that blooms between a boy and a dog of intergalactic origins.

A visitor from outer space comes to Stephen’s yard one night. It may look like a Dalmatian, but it certainly doesn’t act like one. At first, Stephen and the visitor get off on the wrong paw. They quibble over kibble, debate sleeping arrangements, and must abandon earth dogs’ approach to bathroom breaks altogether to keep the peace. Is a shared love of bacon a strong enough foundation for this ordinary earth boy and extraordinary out-of-this-world canine to learn to live in harmony?


A story of the forming friendship between a boy and a dog takes on a eye-brow-raising and spacy twist.

One night, visitors comes to Stephen's yard, the kind found in a spaceship. Their mission is simple: collect specimens and head home without being noticed. But Stephen does notice. Before he can step outside, the visitors are gone. Mostly. One was accidentally left behind. While this visitor might look quite a bit like a Dalmatian, it soon becomes clear that it is not...and not only because of its green and not black spots.

The science fiction direction adds a fun twist to this tale about friendship. Plus, the dog is very cute...although it, maybe, wouldn't agree. It begins with a night scene, where a flying saucer lands in the yard behind a white house. This brings smiles to the adult readers, as it does bring a sense of nostalgia. After that, this tale heads into friendship and alien fun. Not only do the green-spotted Dalmartians grab attention, but the Dalmartian's 'human' side brings many pokes of humor and surprises. Stephen and the Dalmartian need to find middle-ground as they discover more about each other and learn to balance with the world around them. It's a give and take with growing concern and respect, which forms a wonderful message surrounding friendship, acceptance, and sacrifice.

The illustrations carry this read almost more than the text and are well done. They add little details, which bring humor and also help strengthen the main message. Young listeners can flip through these and revisit the story on their own. The text flows well and stays short, when needed, or offers more to reflect the situations. There's never a boring moment, which makes this a lovely read-aloud for even more impatient audiences. Part of me hopes that there might be, at least, another adventure with these two to come.

And here she is...

Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author, illustrator, and art director of children’s books. She was happily paired with Jean Reidy for both Truman, which was named a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019, and Sylvie. She is also the author-illustrator of StumpkinVampenguinDalmartian: A Mars Rover’s StoryOur Pool, and A Hungry Lionor A Dwindling Assortment of Animals. Lucy has swum in creeks, streams, gorges, rivers, swimming holes, pools (above- and in-ground), lakes (both Great and Finger), decorative fountains, and oceans. Her very favorite place to swim, however, is at her community pool in Brooklyn with her sons and her neighbors.

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