Lights on Wonder Rock

Clarion. Sept. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358359531.
PreS-Gr 2–A fantastical, partially wordless story tells of a girl and her fascination with all things extraterrestrial. Heather sits patiently on Wonder Rock with a flashlight until a UFO finally lands and she encounters a friendly alien.Though she wants to go with it to explore the unknown, she returns home, knowing her parents will miss her. From that day on she longs for the alien’s return, and comes back to Wonder Rock to wait. As an elderly woman, her outer space friend returns. Yet again, she nearly ventures into space, but her loving children and grandchildren beckon her back. Litchfield talks directly to readers, repeating, “Time passed, as time does,” along with wordless panels that effectively demonstrate the passage of a lifetime. Wordless pages also illustrate the interactions with the alien. The pictures are mesmerizing, with rich, dark forests, streaming magical moonlight, and a round silver UFO that flashes with pink and purple light. The opening spread shows a silhouette of red-headed Heather walking from a cabin in the spotlight of a moon hung low in a deep blue sky. And while there is a clear sense of longing throughout Heather’s life, she is not consumed by it, nor is there trepidation or fear of the blue alien.
VERDICT When Heather rejoices as her family finally meets her Wonder Rock friend, readers will be right there with her. A wondrous tale, this is recommended for picture book collections.

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