The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret & Mark Fearing Review

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot Review by Miygin Harris


McNamara, Margaret and Mark Fearing. The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. New York: Schwartz, 2011. ISBN 0375866892

  • This spoof on the classic tale follows three tiny, green siblings as they zip through the solar system with jet packs looking for a new home. Though their mother has warned the three to stay together and stay clear of the Big Bad Robot, Bork finds a convenient and zippy Martian rover to live in. Gork also abandons his brother once he discovers a really cool satellite orbiting Saturn. All alone now, Nklxwcyz travels all the way to Neptune to build his fortress, using a telescope for his chimney.

    “Then, one galactic dawn, there was a rumbling in the universe” which could only mean that the Big Bad Robot, bleeping and meeping threats, has come for the siblings. After her rover is smashed to pieces, Bork barely escapes with her life. After bravely declaring, “[n]ot by the orbit of the ring I’m riding!” Gork’s satellite meets the same fate.

    When the two Mercurians find themselves fleeing the automaton together, they remember their mother’s advice. Nklxwcyz, being the sort of alien who errs on the side of caution when under threat by giant evil machines, knew what to do. His house was so solid that even the robot’s triple blaster left no scorch marks. Then the robot gets an unfortunate idea: he attempts to crawl down the chimney. He struggles so much that his gears and bolts burst apart in a spectacular pyrotechnic display.

  • This book invites readers to make their own comedic interpretations as to the pronunciation of the name of third alien Nklxwcyz. Young readers will be able to draw conclusions about the meanings of space words such as broink, queek, ork, and greep.

    The illustrations include fantastic boxy onomatopoeias, which bring the robot’s creaky, bleeping presence off the page. Some of the best illustrations depict the Robot’s attempts to invade Nklxwcyz’s durable shelter: swirling his arms and creating clouds of smoke, emitting a blistering laserbeam, and gleefully driving his footcup into the chimney.

    Fearing’s artwork, for which he used NASA photographs, depicts the siblings’ journey around the solar system. Textures are colorful and visually interesting, especially the vivid red surface of mars. The characters are humorous and emotive. The aliens’ distinctive reactions to their plight are portrayed especially well as Gork and Bork urgently rush toward the open door of Nklxwcyz’s stronghold, while a boxy, lumbering silhouette with five glowing eyes clanks across the surface of Neptune. The detonation of the android is depicted as a carbonated burst of multicolored fizz which expels eyeballs, springs, nuts, and sprockets into another galaxy.

    This interplanetary tale evokes its classic, bedtime story roots when the three little aliens’ mother visits to tuck them into their safe Neptunian bed. The moral of the story should be obvious to children: always listen to your mother and stay together. Kids will love the three little aliens and their various numbers of eyes. Although young readers may not catch the E.T. reference at the end, they’ll want to zeep and groink and peedily eep eep eep along.



    Booklist’s Abby Nolan praised the book’s “exuberant text and comical, out-of-this-world illustrations (2011).”

    Publishers Weekly reported that “[t]his boisterous galactic retelling [. . .] is faithful to the original story, down to the climactic chimney, but has bountiful fun along the way,” predicting that while the book holds few scientific facts, young readers will “have fun pronouncing Nklxwcyz (2011).”

  • Gather other versions of The Three Little Pigs:

    • Trivizias, Eugenios. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. ISBN 0590486225
    • Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. ISBN 0670888443
    • Docampo, Valeria. The Three Little Tamales. ISBN 0761455191
    • Wiesner, David. The Three Pigs. ISBN 0618007016

    More stories about aliens and outer space:

    • Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl. ISBN 9781596434462
    • Smallcomb, Pam. Earth to Clunk. ISBN 0803734395
    • Fearing, Mark. Earthling! ISBN 1452109060

    From the clues in the story, identify which planets are the planets in our solar system:

    • The aliens’ home planet from the inside cover diagram?
    • The giant golden planet with rings?
    • The red, dusty planet with mountains and plains?
    • The faraway massive blue planet with 13 moons?

    Introduce a lesson on which planets and moons may be capable of sustaining life and which ones we cannot live on.

    Have your group design a planet to live on. What would your planet need to have? What would its inhabitants be like?


    Advertisements Share this:
    Like this:Like Loading... Related