Sci Friday Spacey Picture Book Bonanza

Welcome back to Sci Friday - a celebration of one of my absolute favorite genres. Science fiction is the perfect way to build a love of science and spark the curiosity that makes humanity constantly move toward the next horizon.

Today I'll share three picture books. Filled with adorable animals, goofy humor, and space travel, these are books you can use to get even young readers interested in the genre.

For the Littlest SciFans and Fans-to-be 
Sheep Blast Off! (Sheep)
by Nancy E. Shaw, Margot Apple (illustrator)

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 2nd 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN 061813168X (ISBN13: 9780618131686)
Source: My local library

From Goodreads:
When a mysterious spacecraft lands in a nearby pasture, the lovable, blundering sheep get in gear for the ride of their lives! Unfortunately, these sheep don’t know the first thing about piloting a spaceship . . . but there may be someone else on board who does!

My thoughts: There are adorable, predictable rhymes like you would expect from an early reader. The bonus is that there are also fabulous words like "stratosphere"! I loved seeing the sheep don spacesuits and the little green men with eyeballs on stalks are a perfect way to get kids thinking about the "what ifs" of extra-terrestrials. 

Step it up to harder text and more sophisticated space information with...

Mousetronaut Goes to Mars (Mousetronaut)
by Mark Kelly, C. F. Payne (Illustrations)
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2013 
by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
ISBN 1442484268 (ISBN13: 9781442484269)
Source: My school library 

From Goodreads: 
Meteor the mousetronaut returns to outer space in this exciting story from #1 New York Times bestselling author and retired NASA astronaut Commander Mark Kelly and renowned illustrator C.F. Payne.

3-2-1…blast off! The smallest member of the team, a mouse named Meteor, is back on board and ready to come to the rescue on an interplanetary adventure!

My Thoughts: Written by a real astronaut... how can you beat that? This is the perfect next step book. The illustrations are lovely and fun... Meteor the Mouse has the most adorable expressions! I love how you get to see a lot of the process leading up to launch, including Meteor working out to stay in shape for his next mission. Mousetronaut will definitely lead older kids to ask questions about Mission Control, microgravity, and Mars. There is even detailed scientific information in the backmatter, though I wish that there had been some chunking and subheadings to help organize that information for younger readers. 

Comic book and superhero fans will enjoy the next one... 

Mungo and the Spiders from Space
by Timothy Knapman (Goodreads Author), 
Adam Stower (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 2nd 2009 by Dial 
(first published December 1st 2007)
ISBN 0803732775 (ISBN13: 9780803732773)
Source: My local library

From Goodreads: 
3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Blast off! Mungo is set for the space adventure of a lifetime, until he fi nds the final pages of his new comic book have been - noooo! - ripped out. Even more alarming, Mungo has been pulled in! Into the book, that is. Can this pajama-clad boy defeat the evil Dr. Frankenstinker? Can he stand his ground against a gnashing, slashing Gobblebeast? Can he outsmart an entire robot spider army?

My Thoughts:
I really, really enjoyed Mungo. It captured the fun of a superhero comic with the colors, lettering, and onomatopoeia. The evil scientist is quite... colorful, and there are numerous jokes tossed in that will make adults reading this to children chuckle. I loved how Mungo got to join in the story to save his hero when the last page was missing. Don't we all want to be swept away into our books? Clever, funny, and filled with aliens and robots - this will please all the way through upper elementary (and beyond?)


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