A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Young readers get a lesson on history, culture, mass media, and literature.
Kids will see that they cannot always believe everything that they hear.
Violence & Scariness
Aliens shoot lasers in creepy red light, but the cartoon style lightens the mood.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this picture book describes the very real drama following the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The content is handled very well, but the story is likely to prompt conversations about public panic, trusting news reports, and hoaxes. The book provides extensive resources for kids interested in learning more.
Is It Any Good?
On the surface, this rich book is a fun tale of a famous prank. But Meghan McCarthy’s slobbering aliens serve up a wealth of material for curious kids to explore. She forthrightly sets up the tale by introducing 1930s radios and letting kids know this is a true story of a pretend story, and then lets the fun begin. Just like listeners in the 1930s, kids may fall for the prank all over again. At the back of the book, she offers extensive background on the radio play, H.G. Wells’ perspective, and a bibliography; there’s even more at the Web site for the book, released as a hardcover in 2006. The style of the text offers another worthy challenge to kids, presenting excerpts in the format of a play.
McCarthy’s illustrations pay homage to pulp fiction of the ‘30s and ‘40s, from the gooey letters on the cover to the ads in the back pages (“Electric-Tuning Radio! Even a baby can tune it!”). History is rarely this much fun.
Cartoons evocative of classic sci-fi are a perfect mix of goofy and spooky.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.