Astronuts Mission One: The Plant Planet by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Steven Weinberg

Astronuts by Jon Scieszka
Publisher's Synopsis: “This laugh-out-loud, visually groundbreaking read launches a major new series by children's literature legend Jon Scieszka. Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, a spectacular gatefold, plus how-to-draw pages in the back, it's an outer space adventure that demonstrates a giant leap for bookmaking and a giant leap for any kid looking for their next go-to series. AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are animals that have been hybridized to find other planets for humans to live on once we've ruined Earth. So off they rocket to the Plant Planet! Will that planet support human life? Or do Plant Planet's inhabitants have a more sinister plan? AstroNuts Mission One is a can't-put-it-down page-turner for reluctant readers and fans ready to blast past Wimpy Kid.”

My Two Cents: I'm not sure that little old me has much to add to discussions of this great new title
as it has already garnered coveted starred reviews from both Kirkus & Publisher’s Weekly (as well as a glowing review from School Library Journal). Those shiny stars are not simply awarded because AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet springs from the mind of the fabulous Jon Scieszka. This truly is a standout book for a number of reasons.

AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet does the one thing that stellar children’s literature must do: make a point without preaching to kids. In this case, the point is that the planet is dying. This is a heavy topic made easily accessible by the brilliant chaos of science fiction, potty humor, and unique collage illustrations packed into an exploration adventure tale. It would be easy to thumb through AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet and think, “Oh, another graphic/diary/wacky title for boys.” That would be a grave underestimate.

Although the mind of Scieszka might appear to be filled with mayhem, his tellings are always way deeper and thoughtfully skilled than a simple glance. Scieszka pulls off Earth's first-person narration whilst farts and booger jokes barrel out alongside scientific facts. It's all so nonchalant; leaving young readers laughing while absorbing some pretty weighty background knowledge on science, space and the environment. There's also a big essential question built within the theme concerning our role in not only dooming Earth, but also our exploration rights to junk up space.

AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet is a jumble of fonts, captions, neon colors, and collage alterations, all of which greatly complement the chaotic nature of the genetically-altered Astronuts' mission. Because the text is presented in small snippets, interspersed with fun illustrations and captions, this series could really be a hit with striving readers. I see this as an excellent literature circle selection. teachers should recommend it to kids who like science fiction and/or humor and the maturing Captain Underpants crowd.

AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet is one to add to your collection, for sure.
Highest Recommendation from this little old reading & education specialist :-)

Genre: Science Fiction/Humor/Adventure/Graphic Novel Hybrid
Age: 7 - 12 / Grades 3 - 6
Pages: 220
Date: September 2019 ISBN: 978-1452171197
Thank You to publisher Chronicle Books for my review copy

Topics: Climate Change, Space Exploration, Genetic Engineering, Science Facts
Characters: The genetically engineered creatures are a hoot, each with their own quirks that I expect will come into play further as the series progresses
Plot: Will the Astronuts find a "Golidilocks" planet that is not too hot and not too cold, but just right (like Earth)?
Originality: Completely original
Believability: Oddly, very much so. The serious issue of climate change is actually rendered as more dire by the madcap mayhem because kids will actually want to listen to the telling.

You can buy AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet HERE

You can read more about illustrator Steven Weinberg on his website > HERE
You can read more about author Jon Scieszka on his website > HERE

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