Andrew Levins (text) and Katie Kear (illustrator), Nelson: Pumpkins and Aliens, Puffin Books, March 2020, 176 pp., $12.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760893347
Nelson Hunter hates vegetables. REALLY hates vegetables and spends his life trying desperately to avoid them, which is hard when he has a dad who insists on cooking vegetables EVERY day and his grandparents are farmers…. not farmers with fields of cows and cute baby pigs to pat but rather, you guessed it….vegetable farmers! On the upside, Nelson has had the same best friend since kindergarten, Olive Sadana, and she often tries to save her friend not only from his veggie-phobia but also from his teacher’s frustration at Nelson’s easily distracted manner. But when aliens invade their school intent on eating all their teachers, fate, in the form of his vegetable-loving grandmother, provides Nelson with a surprising way to fight them! Gross, funny, frantic and illustrated with a playful touch, this book will suit younger readers who want a bit of light, at times icky fun complete with slimy purple aliens.
Reviewed by Deborah Abela