ASTRONUTS MISSION THREE

THE PERFECT PLANET

From the AstroNuts series

On their third mission, the AstroNuts visit the Perfect Planet—Earth!

Following their failed missions to the Plant Planet and the Water Planet, the lovably goofy band of AstroNuts is sent back in time to prehistoric Earth in hopes of stopping humankind from discovering fire and thus preventing climate change. Zooming off from their top-secret AstroNut headquarters on Mount Rushmore, the animal foursome rocket into a wormhole in their Abe Lincoln Beard Vehicle. When they arrive, the AstroNuts befriend the purple-skinned, fur-clad Sapiens family: Grunk, Lucy, and Baby Urp, who live in a cold, dark home, literally between a rock and a hard place. They soon discover that humans are not the dominant species: Wolves are! A Survival of the Fittest Olympics pits the nefariously cunning wolves against the Sapiens family. Can the AstroNuts help the humans beat the wolves without introducing them to fire? Scieszka’s third installment doesn’t miss a beat, with its consistent blend of interesting science facts, enthralling collage art, and, of course, a good poop joke or two. Weinberg’s illustrations are dazzling, juxtaposing classic works of art with bold color splashes and zany, brightly colored characters. This series has been dependably edifying and entertaining, and this latest volume works fine as a stand-alone, although the recap should entice new readers to visit previous installments.

Perfectly fun. (Graphic science fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7121-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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