Book Reviews

Book Review – Marty by Rachel Noble

Review by
Jill Lorenzini

Marty is a lot like you and me. He has hobbies, a job and trouble deciding what to wear every day. For the most part, Marty fits in. But Marty is a little bit different, too. You see, he doesn’t exactly come from this planet, and it could be a problem if his true green-skinned self were to be revealed. But when an act of artistic expression leads to uninvited scrutiny, Marty begins to wonder whether he will ever truly belong on Earth. Rachel Noble and Zoey Abbott’s Marty is a charming story of acceptance, friendship and finding home.

You can’t help but like this little Martian. He’s a friendly shade of green with a simple, open face. Thanks to his flair for style and costume design, Marty can be anyone, anywhere, from the construction worker across the street to the skateboarder in the park or the barista behind the coffee shop counter. He lives in a big old tree outside the city that looks so homey and fun, it just might make you consider moving into the backyard.

Like Marty, this book feels like an old pal. Using gentle washes of subdued colors and few sharp lines, illustrator Abbott creates a welcoming, cozy world. Her art is full of tiny, playful details that add familiarity and cleverness and will have readers inspecting each page. Delightful vignettes of Marty digging through a laundry basket, bent over his sewing machine or modeling his synchronized swim attire are guaranteed to elicit smiles.

While Abbott’s artwork is cheekily detailed,Noble’s writing is straightforward and earnest. Noble uses some alliteration and repetition but forgoes fluffy, drawn-out exposition in favor of unpretentious, honest sentences. She narrates evenly and effortlessly, calmly bringing her characters from surprise to genuine curiosity and finally into comfortable understanding and fellowship.

Books with profound messages often seem to pulse with intensity and importance, demanding attention and action. Marty’s message is certainly profound, but it’s shared by example: a heartfelt invitation, an easy acceptance of differences, a shared laugh. Marty’s simple words of friendship and kindness may not be Earth-shattering, but they’re definitely Earth-brightening.

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