Megalopolis: And the Visitor from Outer Space

An alien lands, explores the city, has a party, (almost) dies, is resurrected at its funeral by a mermaid and lives happily ever after .

Megalopolis is not your average picturebook. A vertical book, it unfolds downwards to over 3 meters in length of gorgeous heavy card. This isn’t a bedtime story, it sits somewhere between Where’s Wally and Hervé Tullet. Active engagement and a good bit of space are demanded.

The text is large, in a clear font which changes colour with each beautiful, sparse page. The tension between the airy minimalism of text pages and the detail-saturated illustrations creates a wonderful momentum. Text is minimal, but language is rich. Short sentences allow plenty of time to discuss and define scientific curiosities, dormant volcanos, observatories and, of course, megalopoles. There are occasional flourishes of poetry, ‘sparkling fireworks explode like flower petals’, which provide opportunities to discuss about simile and other poetic effects.

This modern, digitally created garden of earthly delights uses muted, warm hues. There is a key on the back of various objects to spot, which is a good game – but there are hidden treasures throughout. Also present is diversity in spades, not just in skin-tone but in lifestyle too. We see everyone represented here, from families at an aquarium, to thieves, council members and everyone in between.

You will undoubtedly find your kids climbing all over this witty, inclusive and interactive book to get a better look. More than the sum of its parts, this book is ideal for ages 5-7.