The children in these stories have one thing in common—they are all young extraterrestrials. None of them are of this planet. None can be called human. Some of the young extraterrestrials are obviously, wonderfully, alien. Yet others have lived their lives alongside human children and no one ever knew the difference. No one could tell they were extraterrestrials, with a special heritage and special gifts. Some of the children are here as ambassadors of peace. Others are here for more selfish and more frightening reasons.
Isaac Asimov, Martin Greenberg and Charles Waugh have selected stories by Piers Anthony, R.A. Lafferty, James E. Gunn and many others that don’t question the existence of extraterrestrials but rather explore what life for a young extraterrestrial would be like on Earth.
I’m really not sure whether or not to recommend this collection for young readers about young beings not from our planet, frankly because the stories are less than impressive. (And none of them are by Asimov, either.) Some like James E. Gunn’s “Kindergarten” or Edward D. Hoch’s “Zoo” are nice short-shorts, and the R.A. Lafferty piece, “Primary Education of the Camiroi” is mildly funny (but not as funny as the other Camiroi story of which I’m aware). Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s “Who’s on First?” starts out promising enough but falls apart at the end. Keith Laumer’s “Doorstep” is a tad too obvious and mawkish for my taste, and I never have enjoyed Frank Belknap Long’s “Mississippi Saucer.” And so on.
Younger readers with less jaded tastes than mine might enjoy this collection well enough, I suppose, and I’m willing to give it a guarded recommendation to them—but the adult Asimov fan is unlikely to find anything here of interest.