The archetype’s patterns are just visible enough to boost this light payload of silliness and STEM-ware into orbit.

THERE WAS AN OLD ASTRONAUT WHO SWALLOWED THE MOON!

Ever ready to extend her culinary experience, the old lady of song turns to astrophagy.

Colandro’s 17th (and counting) riff on the classic cumulative rhyme sends the space-suited elder into space to swallow the moon (“It happened at noon at noon”). She then goes on in no obviously logical fashion to chow down on a star, a planet, a comet, a meteoroid, a rocket (“It was next on the docket”), and a satellite—before settling at last, in Lee’s frenetically stippled climactic scene, amid a diverse group of awestruck children beneath a gloriously crowded planetarium “sky.” In between verses two young and generally earthbound observers, one a child of color and the other white, step in to supply basic astro-facts (“That meteoroid made a loud sound!” observes one; the other explains, “It’s a meteorite when it hits the ground”) that are extended, at least a little, in a set of closing notes. And a search-and-find game at the end invites emergent stargazers to go back in search of various objects hidden in the cartoon starscapes. The titular old astronaut will be instantly recognizable to fans of the series as the bespectacled, white-bunned, lantern-jawed white protagonist they’ve come to know.

The archetype’s patterns are just visible enough to boost this light payload of silliness and STEM-ware into orbit. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32507-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so...

TOUCH THE EARTH

From the Julian Lennon White Feather Flier Adventure series , Vol. 1

A pro bono Twinkie of a book invites readers to fly off in a magic plane to bring clean water to our planet’s oceans, deserts, and brown children.

Following a confusingly phrased suggestion beneath a soft-focus world map to “touch the Earth. Now touch where you live,” a shake of the volume transforms it into a plane with eyes and feathered wings that flies with the press of a flat, gray “button” painted onto the page. Pressing like buttons along the journey releases a gush of fresh water from the ground—and later, illogically, provides a filtration device that changes water “from yucky to clean”—for thirsty groups of smiling, brown-skinned people. At other stops, a tap on the button will “help irrigate the desert,” and touching floating bottles and other debris in the ocean supposedly makes it all disappear so the fish can return. The 20 children Coh places on a globe toward the end are varied of skin tone, but three of the four young saviors she plants in the flier’s cockpit as audience stand-ins are white. The closing poem isn’t so openly parochial, though it seldom rises above vague feel-good sentiments: “Love the Earth, the moon and sun. / All the children can be one.”

“It’s time to head back home,” the narrator concludes. “You’ve touched the Earth in so many ways.” Who knew it would be so easy to clean the place up and give everyone a drink? (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2083-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Hurray for the underdog.

PLUTO GETS THE CALL

Heart (-shaped surface feature) literally broken by its demotion from planet status, Pluto glumly conducts readers on a tour of the solar system.

You’d be bummed, too. Angrily rejecting the suggestions of “mean scientists” from Earth that “ice dwarf” or “plutoid” might serve as well (“Would you like to be called humanoid?”), Pluto drifts out of the Kuiper Belt to lead readers past the so-called “real” planets in succession. All sport faces with googly eyes in Keller’s bright illustrations, and distinct personalities, too—but also actual physical characteristics (“Neptune is pretty icy. And gassy. I’m not being mean, he just is”) that are supplemented by pages of “fun facts” at the end. Having fended off Saturn’s flirtation, endured Jupiter’s stormy reception (“Keep OFF THE GAS!”) and relentless mockery from the asteroids, and given Earth the cold shoulder, Pluto at last takes the sympathetic suggestion of Venus and Mercury to talk to the Sun. “She’s pretty bright.” A (what else?) warm welcome, plus our local star’s comforting reminders that every celestial body is unique (though “people talk about Uranus for reasons I don’t really want to get into”), and anyway, scientists are still arguing the matter because that’s what “science” is all about, mend Pluto’s heart at last: “Whatever I’m called, I’ll always be PLUTO!”

Hurray for the underdog. (afterword) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1453-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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