NONFICTION

Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fundamentals of Spaceflight

Candlewick. Nov. 2020. 64p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536207422.
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Gr 4-8–This beginner’s guide to rocket science offers a straightforward exploration of the principles behind space travel and related topics, such as extraterrestrial life. The text is appropriate for a wide range of ages. Each page is illustrated with renderings of space, celestial bodies, and space machinery; white font is set against the dark backdrops. Rader has a PhD in aerospace engineering; his expertise is reflected in the writing. Although the subject is complex, the simple, accessible language will aid reading comprehension. Attention-grabbing elements typically found in children’s nonfiction works, such as a narrator or fact boxes, are not used. Rader’s stripped-down approach will be refreshing for readers who have analytical minds and are interested in space flight. For children who encounter this book by chance and/or are only casually interested in space travel, the text might not be enough to pique their interest.
VERDICT Rader presents information in a style that will be appealingly fact-packed or disappointingly bland depending on the child. However, the book is a great addition to a lower or middle school library looking for a solid, informative text explaining space travel.

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