Skip to main content

Zoomer's Out-of-This-World Christmas by Ned Young

Part of the reason that I don't review holiday books on an annual basis, despite the plethora published every year, is because it's extremely hard to tell a good Christmas story, probably because there are so few themes to explore when writing in this genre. So, in this field where it seems like it's all been done before, taking the themes of giving and sacrificing in the spirit of the holiday and presenting them in a creative, visually stunning way, reading a book like Zoomer's Out-of-This-World Christmas is so refreshing! Zoomer's Out-of-This-World Christmas is Ned Young's third installment in this series, making it even more remarkable since most series seem to wear out their thematic charms by book two. Zoomer is a wildly imaginative dog who, along with his older twin brothers Hooper and Cooper, make Phineas & Ferb look like amateurs. While Young's stories are hugely entertaining, what I love most are his painterly illustrations that are just a little bit cartoonish. Page for page, you will definitely get your money's worth when you purchase any of the Zoomer books (see below for other titles).

In Zoomer's Out-of-This-World Christmas it's Christmas Eve and the brothers are up in their treehouse, telescope set and ready to spot Santa as he flies across the sky.

While his brothers are giving him a hard time about the pretend antlers that Zoomer has taped to his cap, they are startled by a loud BOOM in the backyard.

When Zoomer, Cooper and Hooper try to tell their dad about the spaceship in the backyard, he shakes his head wondering where they come up with this stuff. This illustration above is one of my favorite from Zoomer's Out-of-This-World Christmas. It captures Young's painterly style as well as his scope, adding so much to the story being told and making the reader all the more excited to enter Zoomer's world.

The brothers grab their preferred forms of transportation and head out to see what made the noise, thinking that they will see Santa and his sleigh. Instead, they get quite a surprise. What follows are 14 pages of fun and games with the alien kids and the dogs as the space dad attempts to fix the broken spaceship. Young comes up with all sorts of cool alien words for everything from food to sports  to greetings. Besides the alien version of soccer, space mom sets up a force-field swimming pool filled with alien creatures and spaceship-submarines. The illustrations for these alien visitation pages are SO COOL and I wish I had images to share with you here. Be assured, Young's alien family, their pets and their belongings are all colorful, friendly and incredibly imaginative. However, I especially like the robots that Young portrays - both alien and toy. As the story comes to an end, Zoomer has made a generous gift to the aliens in order to help them get home, noted by his older brother, and in turn is rewarded on Christmas morning.

Don't miss Ned Young's other fantastic Zoomer books

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…