Shirley and Moe. Just a regular couple from Bellmore. Today, all they are expecting is a nice, quiet dinner with a few cousins. But what do they get? Spacemen! From outer space!
They don't know it yet, but with a touch of human (and alien) kindness and a heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, the galaxy is about to get a little bit smaller.
Expected publication: April 10th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion (first published 1988)
Original Title: Company's Coming
There's going to be a wedding on planet Nextoo! And, after having tasted Shirley's meatballs, the spacemen ask Shirley and Moe a teeny weeny favor: would they be so kind as to cater the simple celestial celebration for four hundred and eighty-seven alien guests (give or take a few)?
Shirley is thrilled, but Moe has his doubts-after all, who wants to travel past Uranus in a spaceship the size of a barbecue?
Expected publication: April 10th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion (first published October 1st 2001)
Original Title: Company's Going
Arthur Yorinks introduces us to Shirley and Moe, an ordinary couple who are about to have an extraordinary adventure. With a breezy confidence, Yorinks is able to credibly introduce us to the idea of aliens popping up in their suburban life, with all the ramifications that come with such an introduction.
(Seriously, I was impressed with the fact Yorinks actually made reference to the Pentagon - that's how you know this is a picture book from a different time.)
While both books involves UFOs, the overarching themes of the books - being kind to those who are different; learning how to appreciate what you have; even how to make peace with your loved ones - are smart ones that stand the test of time. (Also: meatballs will be welcome, no matter where you go in the galaxy.)
My one minor quibble with Company's Coming and Company's Going, was Small's art didn't quite gel with me on a personal level. I felt like the color palette slightly aged the story, making both books feel older than they actually are. While the palette is due to the book originally being released in 1988, I do wonder if the tone could have been adjusted and updated.
However, this is: 1. completely a personal preference, and 2. Not a sign of disrespect to illustrator David Small. I really do believe other readers will be delighted by the art, and I look forward to hearing from other readers.
All in all, Company's Coming and Company's Going, are fun picture book romps which show it's possible to make almost anything into a picture book topic. With thoughtful lessons about friends, family and accepting others regardless of how they look, this will find a place on many a happy shelf.
About the author:
Arthur Yorinks is a celebrated writer and director. His many books include Company's Coming, illustrated by David Small; the Caldecott winner Hey, Al, illustrated by Richard Egielski; Harry and Lulu, illustrated by Martin Matje; and The Miami Giant, illustrated by longtime friend and cofounder of The Night Kitchen Theater, Maurice Sendak. Visit Arthur online at arthuryorinks.com.