Nico Visits the Moon

By: Honorio Robledo
Illustrator: Honorio Robledo
A fanciful meandering story with light-hearted, airy illustrations that are just perfect for floating.



A fanciful meandering story with light-hearted, airy illustrations that are just perfect for floating.

Nico is a wild and adventurous boy: never mind that he's still crawling. One afternoon, accompanied by his kittens, Fast Claws and Mr. Tongue, he crawls right past his father, who is watching the most important basketball game in the world on the TV, and his mother, who is polishing her nails, and out the front door. Luckily some balloons are close at hand to carry him over the highest buildings, out to the farthest stars and to the beautiful moon. His mother and father try to catch him before he disappears. The police come and the fireman with their hooks and ladders, and there's even a helicopter from the evening news in hot pursuit. But nobody can stop Nico. He's happy playing on the moon with his kitties and nibbling on the wonderful packages of food and love that his mother and father send him every few days. Will he ever come home? Only when Fast Nails and Mr. Tongue are big fat cats and just in time for him to start kindergarten.

5 reviews for Nico Visits the Moon

  1. School Library Journal
    Nico grabs some of the balloons his parents use to keep various objects out of his reach and floats upward. Despite the desperate pursuit of his parents, the police, and the fire department, the child drifts out of reach. He is discovered two weeks later, perched on the tip of the crescent moon-a problem since no astronauts are due to depart for three years. His father, phlegmatic to the core, merely observes that his son will be back in time for kindergarten, while his mother attaches balloons to his two cats and floats them up to join him. Over the years, care packages of hamburgers and fries, hot chocolate and cookies, and his dad’s special fried fish are sent to the child, who seems as unperturbed as his parents. As predicted, Nico arrives home in time for kindergarten. The quirky text has a flavor all its own, due in part to the author’s tendency to address readers directly, in part to the matter-of-fact reporting of impossible occurrences. However, the parents’ ready acceptance of their son’s isolated situation, despite their packages of food and love, is a little chilling, and the abrupt ending leaves a bit to be desired. Robledo’s pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons clearly defined and the slightly muted palette adds to the sense of unreality that gives the story much of its appeal.

  2. Booklist
    Baby Nico’s parents suspend everything from balloons because Nico’s touching everything around him constantly gets him in trouble. But when Mommy is “busy trying out some new nail polish” and Daddy is “glued to the TV, watching the most important basketball game in the whole world,” Nico grabs the balloons–and ends up on the moon. To sustain him until the next moon rocket can bring him home (just in time for kindergarten), Nico’s parents send him daily balloon care packages of food and love. To keep Nico company, they even launch two kittens, Fast Claws and Mr. Tongue. The three little ones then have “all the time in the world–or maybe we should say, all the time ‘in the moon'” to play. Jauntily illustrated with childlike drawings, this surrealistic story will suit the imaginations of kids who have passed a bit beyond such classic flights of fancy as Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon and Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen.

  3. Críticas
    Nico, a hyper kinetic two-year old, has reduced his parents’ home to rubble. The frustrated folks have suspended everything remotely breakable from balloons, which prove to be their undoing. Waking up unexpectedly, Nico crawls off, grabbing balloons as he goes, and sails up into the air. The frantic parents pursue, sending out the police and the fire department, but to no avail. Nico ends up on the moon. To keep him company, up go his two kittens (attached to balloons, as well). His parents send packages of food and love until (three years later) astronauts rescue him, and just in time for kindergarten. This fanciful story is well matched by scratchy pen and ink and watercolor illustrations that look as if they were executed by Peter Max in a manic mood. The idea of a small child stranded on the moon for three years is less than reassuring, especially as his voyage begins because his parents are too busy watching basketball and painting fingernails to notice what is happening with their child. However, it’s all presented in such a fun-loving positive vein that young readers or listeners will take it in stride as a grand adventure. The snappy Spanish text is identical in its antic tone to the English version. This is a good choice for story times or bedtime readings.

  4. Publishers Weekly
    Mexican-born Robledo creates a fable touched with magic realism, accompanied by charming pen-and-ink and watercolor wash illustrations. Little Nico is such a live wire that his parents hang almost everything from balloons to keep it out of his reach. One day, while his mother gives herself a neon manicure and his father watches “the most important basketball game in the whole world,” the toddler manages to grab a handful of the balloons and float away. Unable to catch him, his panic-stricken parents watch his progress on the evening news, which shows a contented Nico “giggling and taking bites out of the soft clouds like they were cotton candy!” He eventually fetches up on the moon, where his mother sends care packages via balloon until he can be rescued three years later by astronauts (“just in time to start kindergarten,” notes his father). Robledo’s premise and his deadpan delivery provide plenty of amusing fodder for a picture book fantasy. Precisely drawn cartoon vignettes have a surreal quality keenly attuned to the tale’s fantastical elements, and Robledo peppers the pages with whimsical detail, from the floating household objects (a teapot, a flashlight, a bottle of ink) to the characters’ amusingly improbable hairstyles.

  5. Skipping Stones
    Nico is too young to walk but finds plenty of mischief nonetheless. In this surreal tale, he floats his way to the moon on a string of balloons where he has a wonderful time playing in outer space. Available both in English and Spanish.

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