Not everything in Along Came Ziro is round, but all the characters — space alien, farm animals, farmer — are. The trees, clouds, and mountains are also composed of soft curves. The overall feeling one gets from the illustrations is best described as “giggly.” They bring to mind bubbles bouncing against each other.
Along Came Ziro is author Townie’s contribution to kid-lit. It’s a rhyme-filled tale of a little blue alien in a little, tiny spaceship who lands in a barn. He and the animals (pig, cow, hen, sheep, mouse) communicate telepathically. In explaining his mission to them, Ziro states, “I am the one called Ziro and I’m from where I’m at. We’ve all come here to learn. It’s as simple as that.”
In Ziro’s tiny spaceship are millions more of his compatriots. We may expect that they’ll be microscopic, but we’d be wrong. On the not-so-small end of the scale is the farmer, who is “six foot ten.” When he speaks (“Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah”) the animals listen but don’t understand him. His best friend, the dog, tries to interpret for them, but he’s not particularly clued-in to human-speak either.
Ziro convinces the animals to join him in his little, tiny spaceship, but they don’t see how they could possibly fit. The ship may be tiny on the outside, but inside it is [pun intended] spacious. All the animals fit, and they’re off for some space and time travel.
Along Came Ziro is a gentle story, colorfully illustrated, that leaves the door open for sequels. It introduces us to Ziro and his farm friends, and provides some background about Ziro’s home planet, but leaves us wanting more.
Townie’s story should appeal to children of a variety of ages from those who are primarily interested in the pictures to those who are eager for adventure, but not quite ready to leave their home planet.
Would I buy Along Came Ziro? Yes, I have grandchildren who would definitely love this book. The website is live now; the book will be available July 15. It is currently available to read at the Along Came Ziro site (click on the “STUFF” tab). The site also offers related activities and merchandise.