From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–In this picture book, Teddy's mother's cousin visits from Mars and must sleep in the youngster's bedroom. Throughout, commentary directed at readers moves the story along, giving them an earful about Cousin Irv and his noisy breathing. Meanwhile, Teddy's mother tells Irv that Teddy doesn't want him to know that her son has no friends. When the man takes out his electromagnetic ray in Teddy's classroom and vaporizes objects, Teddy is suddenly popular, and his feelings about his relative shift: “You know, if you only see what you don't like about someone, you never see what you do like about them.” Nothing lasts long, though, and when Irv's vacation is over, disappointed Teddy admits, “We all know, or should know if we weren't always forgetting, accepting things is the only way to be happy.” But there's more. Teddy's dad gets a job on Mars, and the family moves in with Coursin Irv. The unique pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork on white backgrounds is spare and looks rudimentary, and the characters have crude, claylike expressions.The pictures convey a sense of space, which adds to the pacing of the story and emphasizes the trajectory of the visit. Kids might be inspired by Kaplan's easy-to-imitate style. Nevertheless, the book is likely to have a limited audience of sophisticated readers.–Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
When cousin Irv arrives for a visit—from Mars—he is not happy. The directions Teddy’s mother gave him stunk, and he has had to go to the bathroom for days. Once Irv gets settled in, it’s Teddy who is not happy. Irv shares his room, and he breathes loudly. And covets Teddy’s pillow. And takes his clothes. Then Irv accompanies Teddy to school, and suddenly, friendless Teddy is surrounded by kids who want to meet his alien cousin. A new relationship blossoms between Irv and Teddy, and when Irv leaves, there are heartfelt good-byes. Unfortunately, the saucer needs repair (“There is nothing more awkward than having to see someone after you’ve already said good-bye”). Soon, however, Dad’s career change means an out-of-this-world relocation. Kaplan, a New Yorker cartoonist, amusingly brings a familiar human family and a Martian cousin together for lots of laughs. The oversize format often has more text than pictures on the page, and the drawings are, well, cartoon-size. But the pithy text and clever art play off each other in winsome ways. Fun for kids and grown-ups. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper