Monday, November 1, 2021

Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature and Strange Planet Activity Book both written and illustrated by Nathan W. Pyle

Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature
written and illustrated by Nathan W. Pyle
Harper/HarperCollins, 2021, 36 pages, Ages 7+

For readers already familiar with Nathan Pyle's Instagram comic about the blue humanoidish Beings from another planet who have come to earth to observe life here, this new book with be a treat.

For those who are unfamiliar with his Strange Planet oeuvre, The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature is a delightful, humorous introduction.

Using language that is about as literal as you can get, the story begins when Lifegiver wakes up Offspring and says that they will be doing creature observation, using their ink cylinder to document the sneaking vibrating creature's every movement as it prowl's around their home and to mimic it in order to learn what amazing things it can do.  
But observing the sneaking vibrating creature and mimicking it are two different things for these visitors to earth. When they finally find the creature hiding behind the starblock fabrics (drapes), and they try to do the same, they discover they are too visible. When the creature sneaks soundlessly across the foot fabric (rug), Lifegiver and Offspring learn that they are themselves quite noisy. And when the creature effortlessly climbs the Group-Soft-Seat (sofa) with its deathblades (claws), the two observers are unable to get off the ground. 

It's a busy day of observation, but the best part comes at the end - finally something sneaking vibrating creature does that Lifegiver and Offspring can mimic with absolute success - 

I laughed out loud each time I read Strange Planet. For one thing, the literal language the Beings from another planet use to describe ordinary, everyday objects is just so spot on and yet nothing that most people would actually say. The other thing that tickled my funny bone is just how right the cat's behavior is. Anyone who has ever owned a cat has observed the same cat behavior as our observing Beings document.

The text is simple and a nice introduction to the graphic format that is so popular with young readers. There is a glossary in the back in case young readers don't quite get Pyle's tongue-in-cheek descriptions what the Beings are naming, or really defining. The full page illustrations are done in Pyle's signature bright pink and blue pages, while the beings are a lighter shade of blue. Everything is outlined in thick black lines. 

Strange Planet Activity Book
written and illustrated by Nathan W. Pyle
Harper/HarperCollins, 2021, 128 pages, Ages 7+

As if Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature isn't fun enough for young readers, there is this wonderful companion activity book. Every bit as funny as the other book about the Beings who use such literal language, this is a book "...made for beings/ who like to sit and think." There are pages to fill-in, crossword puzzles and math problems to solve, mazes to get lost and found in, and drawing pages that ask readers to create "low-detail renderings" of various places (for example, their rest slab chamber) and things (how about an emergence-day cake). 

There are also lots of old favorites, like matching games and word searches, and all of it is done in the language of observing Beings from another planet and with all the humor that we have come to associate with Nathan Pyle's Strange Planet comic.  

When I was a kid, I loved activity books and I always made sure my Kiddo had plenty of them. They are fun, great remedies for the "I'm bored" lament, and kids always come away with stronger observation and problem solving skills. Strange Planet Activity Book provides all that plus a heavy dose of some pretty good tongue-in-cheek humor.

You may think it is a little soon to think about holiday gifts for kids, but Hanukkah begins on November 29th this year and Hallmark is already running Christmas movies. Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature and Strange Planet Activity Book would certainly make fun gifts for your youngsters this year.


Nathan Pyle launched his webcomic S trange Planet in February 2019 and in just one short year, Strange Planet had grown from a single cartoon to a bestseller, and the first book, Strange Planet , was the most-preordered graphic novel of all time. It was #1 on the New York Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, and Washington Post bestseller lists and was a top 5 Denver Post bestseller.

The Strange Planet family continues to grow, gaining thousands of followers per day, and is incredibly engaged, with each new post garnering hundreds of thousands of likes and comments. As of June 2021, @nathanwpylestrangeplanet ’s lovable comics have reached over 6.1 million fans!

Just this month, Apple TV+ announced a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for an animated series based on the Strange Planet comics. With Amalia Levari ( Over The Garden Wall ) to serve as showrunner, Dan Harmon ( Rick and Morty, Community ) as co-creator alongside Pyle, and animation house ShadowMachine ( BoJack Horseman, Final Space ) attached to the project, Strange Planet is sure to get the TV treatment, bringing Pyle’s profound and heartfelt comics to our home screens.

Along with his Strange Planet series, Nathan W. Pyle is the author of the illustrated books, NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette and  99 Stories I Could Tell . He is a former staff writer and illustrator for BuzzFeed. He is based in New York City but travels the country speaking about creativity and storytelling. 

Thank you to Julia at Wunderkind PR for sending me copies to review. 

Connect with Nathan!  Website , Instagram , Twitter , Online Shop

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED activity books when I was growing up. I also absolutely love Strange Planet. I bought it for myself and it makes me laugh every time I read it. Looks like I will have to get this activity book now! :) Thanks for sharing.


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