Look out, Earthlings. Yelfred and Omek of Borborp return in another candy-colored extraterrestrial adventure from author-illustrator Antoinette Portis (Now; Best Frints in the Whole Universe).
The narrative follows besties Yelfred and Omek, two round-bodied aliens with triangle-fanged smiles good for greeting or eating a stranger. Under the guise of educating Earth children about alien skrool, the reader follows the stroodents through an eventful day. When Yelfred befriends the aptly named Q-B, Omek is left alone to mope, but a well-timed food fight proves three best frints are better than two.
Portis's subversive humor remains on point: the narrator gamely insists the childrinx listen to their skreecher, but illustrations show the students, who vary in size, shape and number of eyes and limbs, squalling and squabbling. Hilariously, the narrator naïvely characterizes the food fight as students kindly sharing their meals ("Everyone is sharing! How thoughtful."). Young readers will find the pencil, charcoal and digital drawings evocative of TV animation; a spread focusing tightly on an infuriated lunch lady's eye, lid splattered with flung food, heightens the cartoonish drama. Endpapers include a visual "Boborpian Glossary" of skrool mainstays like the Eyebrary, a guide on counting to 10 (gazango) in Boborpian and the rules of playing eye ball in the peedle pit.
All teeth and no treacle, Portis handily revamps the three-is-a-crowd storyline. An adult may need to point out the moral--"what makes things the most fun... is a best frint and a best best frint"--as the alien antics will have readers ages 4-8 far too giggly to care about spotting a lesson. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services division manager at main branch, Dayton Metro Library