New Review Tuesday: To Infinity and Beyond
I'm so excited to share two wonderful space-themed books that have recently crossed my desk: Frank Cottrell Boyce's newest middle grade novel, Cosmic, along with the picture book The Moon Over Star, written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Finding these gems seems serendipitous considering there will be a lovely full moon tomorrow night!
Boyce is the author of the charming Millions and Framed, but I think Cosmic might be my favorite of his middle grade novels yet. Cosmic stars the extraordinarily tall Liam, the only eleven-year-old in town who can ride the Cosmic roller coaster by himself. Liam towers over his peers by such leaps and bounds that he's often mistaken for an adult—and it's this possibility that sets the motion in action, as Liam assumes the identity of his father and sets off for China with his friend Florida, in order to compete against other father-child teams for a trip to the moon. Boyce expertly explores the resulting humor and challenges, and middle grade readers will get a kick out of imagining what it would be like to play Mom or Dad. If you're doing a space unit, Cosmic would also be a fun way to hook the kids who aren't as captivated by constellation names or planet facts.
Aston spins a more realistic tale in the picture book The Moon Over Star, which tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission from the perspective of an eight-year-old African-American girl, Mae. Mae prays for the astronauts at church, plays rocket ship with her cousins, and as Neil Armstrong touches down, dreams of going to the moon herself someday. Pinkney's gorgeous watercolors made me want to go to the moon, too—kids won't help but get sucked into the rich and vivid illustrations. It's another good fiction pairing for a unit on space, especially for kids in grades 1–3.
Do you have a favorite space book? Let us know about it in the comments.