Daydreaming in Mrs. Todd's spelling class puts Ralph in touch with Dar Tellum, a telepathic resident of the planet Sidra. Dar Tellum teaches Ralph a little elementary telekinesis and, more important, slips him the solution to the ecological crisis that has been worrying Ralph's scientist father. A considerable amount of ingenuity has gone into preserving both, a sense of Dar Tellum's exoticism and a modicum of suspense, while scaling the narrative to large print immediacy. The conclusion promises more visits from Dar Tellum so now is the time to see whether he can make contact with other wool-gatherers.
James R. Berry (1933-2003) US writer most noted for juveniles, beginning with Dar Tellum: Stranger from a Distant Planet (graph 1973) illustrated by Enrica Scull, an effective Picture Book for younger children, in which the eponymous plant-like Alien cures Earth of carbon-dioxide poisoning. The Galactic Invaders (1976) and Quas Starbrite (1981) are sf-adventure novels, and Magicians of Erianne (1988) is an Arthurian fantasy for older children.