Astronaut Training

Boyds Mills. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781635922882.
PreS-Gr 1–Though Astrid aspires to be an astronaut, whenever she tries to build a spaceship, make astronaut food, or float in the bathtub as though she’s in space, the results are disastrous. When she attempts to count the stars, she runs out of numbers. Frustrated, she falls asleep and in her dreams her wish comes true. She goes on a Gulliver-esque journey (complete with an aerial illustration of Astrid in a supine position surrounded by small creatures), traveling to the planets of “the bigs” and “the littles,” but still cannot successfully complete her astronaut tasks. Upon waking, she complains to her dad, the only parent present in the story. He then helps her build, cook, float, and count, and like Goldilocks, she finds that her own planet is “just right.” The digital illustrations are detailed and animated. The scenes in space are tinted with cool blue tones. Astrid and her dad have brown skin and black hair. The premise of the book, including the protagonist’s name, brings to mind Ken Wilson-Max’s Astro Girl. However, unlike the earlier book, the message of this book is unclear. The Goldilocks theme is undeveloped, and the repetition of certain words feels uninspired. Back matter extrapolates on space shuttles, space food, and gravity in an effort to connect Astrid’s play with real space exploration.
VERDICT Despite the lack of clear message, this bright and cheery book fills a hole in the shelves for budding astronauts and space enthusiasts.

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