A quick flyby, too light of payload for serious study but with some potential for display.

SPACE

From the Pop-Up Guide series

Ten pop-up scenes portray highlights of space exploration, from telescopes to Mars landings, in this French import.

Kitted with elastic bands to hold any of the multilevel painted tableaux open for display, the survey kicks off with a group of ground-based and orbiting telescopes, panoramic views of the planets, and a scanty assortment of satellites (only some of which are identified). From there the focus changes to live space ventures, including moonwalks, inside and outside views of the International Space Station, and, to close, a mix of current and future visitors to Mars. The art has a utilitarian cast overall, and the accompanying labels aren’t always informative (satellite; atmosphere) or easily legible, as they are often printed in black type on the dark blue of outer space. Sometimes, as with the description of a crew sitting in a Soyuz capsule’s interior accompanying an exterior view of the rocket blasting off, they are not even relevant. The sparse narrative text at best gets the job done: “Earth travels around the Sun along with seven other planets. Together, they form our solar system. Some planets are made of rock….” Still, the aptly named but rarely mentioned “RemoveDEBRIS” satellite gets a cameo in one scene, a line-up of launch vehicles past and present is current enough to include the Falcon Heavy and New Shepard, and human figures—at least the ones not wearing spacesuits—reflect the next generation of space explorers in being diverse of age, race, and gender presentation.

A quick flyby, too light of payload for serious study but with some potential for display. (Informational pop-up. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-03632-519-9

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.

PROFESSOR ASTRO CAT'S SPACE ROCKETS

From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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