Aliens Are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast
by Meghan McCarthy
Reviewed by Deb Clark
Fabulous art, snappy dialogue, remarkable story. Yeah, yeah, that’s all good stuff for a children’s picture book. But to pass my family’s litmus test you have to tell me: how many funny voices can I make when I read it to my kids?
Aliens Are Coming! Is an amazing book on all counts. Who’da thunk a marvelous topic for a children’s book is Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio play of The War of the Worlds—a broadcast that lead to mass panic and hysteria when up to a million people feared that Martians actually were invading. But McCarthy’s gripping and well-researched retelling of the story, along with her lively and hilarious illustrations—the humans are almost, but not quite as bug-eyed as the aliens, although far less inclined to copious drool—make this one an instant hit in my house.
And I’m not alone. This book has received special nods from a slew of reviewers and even won a review spot in The New York Times. The freaking New York Times, people. That’s big stuff for a little kids’ book.
As for the funny read-aloud voices? Let’s just say that the things that can be done with all that breathless dialogue from the actual play make my kids beg to hear this story over and over and over.
For readers who want to get really wonkish about the facts of the story, the book ends with a detailed author’s note. Even more background, including newspaper clippings, audio broadcasts and pics of a wonderfully kitschy and bird befouled monument honoring the hoax, can be found on McCarthy’s website at www.aliensarecoming.com.
Note: here's another review of this book.