Monday, July 9, 2012

Aliens Love Underpants (2007), written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Ben Cort

 Miss E is at a point in her life (post-Kindergarten) when buttocks---and the things that either cover or come out of them---are the height of humor.  But even if this were not the case we would still both immensely enjoy this "pants-tastically" appealing and goofy book.

This collaboration between prolific UK creators Claire Freedman and Ben Cort has been so successful that it has been translated into multiple languages  (I counted 18 on Worldcat; Welsh and Gaelic editions are available directly through  It has also launched a series of four books, with a fifth title due out this fall (Pirates Love Underpants).

One of Freedman's contagiously comical quatrains appears on each two-page spread, moderating the pace of the text and inviting us to savor each illustration before turning the page.  Her upbeat ABCB rhyme propels the story forward, sets a playful tone, and invites children to anticipate the next word, but it never feels forced.  Cort's vibrant, inviting, textured paintings are simply hilarious.  His rounded, whimsical, bug-eyed aliens are of the "soft and silly" variety (like Sendak's Wild Things).  And both his skillful use of proportion and particularly his attention to detail (like the aliens interacting with the family dog and cat and the bumper stickers on the spaceships) make this a delightful read.  Aliens Love Underpants is enough of a "butt book" to make readers of a certain age laugh aloud, but it is gentle and tasteful enough to be enjoyed by those who prefer more subtle kinds of humor.

 Miss E's Read:  
She love*love*loves the endpapers, which are decorated---shockingly enough---with crazy underpants, and she enjoys picking her favorites.   

Worth Noting:
Aliens Love Underpants is included in the new Magic Town interactive website and app (I haven't had a chance to explore those yet, but you can read about them here.)

The series website includes downloads and games, though nothing earthshattering (mostly digital and printable coloring activities).

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