Earth to Audrey

Ages 5+

Audrey comes into Ray's life like an earthbound star. Everything about her is a bit far-out. And she's always in her own little world. So Ray decides that this unusual girl who has dropped into his neighbourhood for the summer must be an alien.

As they become friends, Audrey takes Ray on a journey of discovery - one that enables him to see his own planet in a new light. Soon, Ray can't imagine life on Earth without her.

Susan Hughes poignant, gently humorous text and Stéphane Poulin's evocative, heartfelt illustrations capture the long childhood summer of discovery in a small town and depict a friendship that changed the lives of two lonely dreamers.

Kids Can Press - Earth to Audrey

What the Readers Say

"(Poulin's illustrations) illuminate both the humor and the wonder in this deliciously non-sentimental picture book"
- The Toronto Star, December 2005, Starred Review

"Earth to Audrey begs to be revisited again and again, not only for its superior design and eloquence, but also for its celebration of the extraordinary moments of ordinary life."
- Quill & Quire, September 2005

"This is a thought-provoking, haunting picture book.. Audrey's perceptions of the world around her reveal a new world for Ray. ... Ironically it's Audrey, clearly not quite of this world, who expands Ray's universe so that "I felt like we were in her spaceship, seeing the Earth for the first time, new and astonishing." Audrey introduces Ray to Earth hugs, and to more than a few questions metaphysical and otherwise about the way the planet works. ...

Then August ends and Audrey's mother arrives to take her home. Thinking about the summer with Audrey, Ray "remembered before meeting Audrey and then after meeting Audrey. Nothing and then something." Of course he wants her to stay, "to give up her life in space. Earth was a good place to live. I could see she was getting to like it." The last words of this remarkable book are Audrey's response to Ray's request that she stay: "I can't stay, but I'll come back next summer. ..... I wouldn't miss it for anything in the whole universe."
- The Globe and Mail, September 9, 2005

Toronto author Susan Hughes's first picture book captures a summer friendship between a quirky, poetic girl named Audrey and a practical young boy named Ray, who thinks Audrey "must be an alien creature visiting Earth." In a starred review, Q&Q reviewer Jessica Kelley commended both the "spare, matter-of-fact voice" of the narrator and the text's "gentle humour and poetic insight," while also praising the "surreal stillness" of illustrator Stéphane Poulin's paintings.
- Quill and Quire's Books of the Year, 2005

Hughes, a well-known writer of nonfiction and Poulin, a Governor General's award-winner, showcase their talents in a unique and charming story of friendship which is told with gentle, disarming humour. A bored young boy, with his best friends away for the summer, hesitantly makes friends with a strange girl. ... This unusual girl sees the world in a different, all-embracing way, and she reveals her insights to Ray, allowing him to view "the earth for the first time, new and astonishing." Readers will be enchanted as Ray and Audrey pass warm summer days with pretend dolphin rides, picnics, viewing the constellations, swimming, a movie, and with Audrey's family exploring the "great explosion at the very beginning."
- Reesa Cohen, Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB, for CM Magazine, University of Manitoba. Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

This is an elegant, entertaining story. ... At heart, this is a story about the joys of friendship and imagination and discovery. The full-spread illustrations-done in oils-are lively and luscious and capture the beauty of this funny, tender tale.

Classroom Use: We took this book into a second-grade classroom to read aloud. The students loved both the story and the illustrations. They especially loved Audrey. The class unanimously gave it a "10," their highest rating. An excellent choice for a read aloud or independent reading.

Highly Recommended. District-wide purchase encouraged.
- reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis, 2005

Awards & Nominations

  • TD Canadian Children's Literature Award 2007 finalist
  • Blue Spruce Award finalist 2007
  • Shining Willow Award finalist 2006
  • Quill and Quite Book of the Year Top Five Selection
  • CBC Radio One Book Panel Recommended Title
  • Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award shortlist

< previous book    next book >