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Reviewed by JB McPherson for Readers' Favorite
Xalien the Purple Alien by Michelle Path and Charlotte Roberts is a picture book that tells the story of an alien who visits earth. Only Sarah, Jessica and Adam know that she is from another planet. They help her dress up in human clothes, and Xalien spends the day with the family. The humor comes from the unexpected things that Xalien does such as thinking pebbles are food or trying to feed popcorn to a merry-go-round horse. Xalien is a girl, and young girls may be especially drawn to this book. On the other hand, the idea of shooting stars actually being spaceships has a strong interest for everyone. One compelling aspect of this book is the way that the children accept Xalien despite her differences. Her unusual behaviors make them laugh rather than fear her. This may be an opportunity to discuss how to encourage people who act differently. After all, even non-aliens surprise us sometimes.
The target age is three to eight years old, and many children in this age group can relate to Xalien and the odd mistakes that she makes. They may also relate to the experience of new things such as seeing an animal at a petting zoo. At the same time, they enjoy the delicious sense of knowing more than Xalien does — they already know that you don’t eat pebbles or pick up spaghetti with your fingers. The illustrations by Charlotte Roberts are especially appealing. Young children will enjoy looking at the pictures by themselves, even without someone reading to them. The combination of a fanciful story and clever illustrations make Xalien the Purple Alien a fun picture book that sparks a child’s imagination.