It Fell From the Sky – Perfect Picture Book Friday

I’m not sure what I could say about this book other than it’s brilliant! It’s gorgeous! It should be added to your permanent collection immediately!

Why?

Well, hmmmm.

The story begins with an object of interest. The reader will know what it is—a marble—but the creeping, crawling, flying creatures of this backyard world haven’t a clue as to what it is.

So reason #1: Kids love picture books where they know something (they’re in on the joke) that none of the story characters know.

Text/Illustration ©️The Fan Brothers

It fell from the sky on a Thursday.

Reason #2: The art. Look at that pop of color in an otherwise pseudo-realistic black and white world (or should I say gray scale).

Cue enormous bug consternation. Everyone has their theory as to where it came from, how it landed, and what it is.

Text/Illustration ©️The Fan Brothers

Sly humor abounds. The walking stick is happy to find something stranger than himself in the garden.

The frog thinks it’s a gumdrop, but doesn’t like its taste.

But when spider claims the object as his own, things begin to heat up. That greedy ol’ spider builds an amusement park (possibly with the help of ants) and starts charging leaf admission for viewing. As the bugs flock to see the object, Spider gets more greedy and starts charging higher leaf prices. But the bugs begin to grumble and eventually leave the millionaire spider and his pile of leaf money alone….

Reason #3: Surprise factor…an Unexpected Disaster happens, leaving spider without his object and friendless. I LOVE the source of the disaster! No spoilers here, just teasers!

Reason #4: This is not a heavy-handed morality tale. Eventually things return to normal in the backyard, but the spider receives a revelation from the moonlight and changes his ways. (An aside: The revelation reminds me of one of the themes of King Lear where love is seen as a form of currency, a resource that’s limited and in need of hoarding.) When more wonders fall from the sky, the spider is prepared this time to do the right thing, and soon the wonders are shared by all. Morality doesn’t appear in the form of a sledgehammer. It’s there to be discovered among the blades of grass.

I am obsessed by the classic nature of this tale, by its artwork, and by its theme of greed and sharing.

Reason #5: Its undies!! Yes, folks, look under the covers, and you will be delighted. That’s another reason why you need to buy this book. You can’t see the undies of a library book because the covered is taped down. So get thee to an indie and make this book your own!

Activities:

Pair this book with The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel. It also deals with an object that falls from the sky. How are the two books similar? How are they different?

How many different kinds of hats can you find the bugs wearing in the story? Make paper hats. Version one. Version two. Many versions.

Look closely at the final spread of the story. See how many objects/toys/games you can identify.

How many of the creatures depicted in the book can you find in your yard, garden, or nearby park? Check out iNaturalist, an application that helps you identify species using a smartphone.

Title: It Fell From the Sky

Author: The Fan Brothers

Illustrator: The Fan Brothers

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2021

Themes: greed, sharing, insects

Ages: Pre-k through elementary school

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

21 thoughts on “It Fell From the Sky – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. ptnozell says:

    I have this checked out from the library & am having a hard time convincing myself to return it. I think I may just need to follow your suggestion – this book is brilliant (and hopefully/probably a Caldecott contender).

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I completely understand. We just discussed this book under the topic of “wonder” in our SCBWI regional PB discussion group, and it spurred quite the discussion, some of it having little to do with a child’s read. Things like a critique of capitalism and/or the monetization of religion. In addition to all the aspects of wonder this book covers.

  2. Patricia Tilton says:

    I really enjoyed your post and the reasons you gave for liking this book. Fun to read! And, I think you’re right about kids knowing what the characters don’t — good for a lot of chuckles. And such gorgeous illustrations!

  3. gloriaamescua says:

    This sounds like a great story. The illustrations are amazing. My great nephews will probably see this one among others under the Christmas tree.

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