The Well Read Review: Oh No, Astro!

Oh No, Astro!
Matt Roeser (Author), Brad Woodard (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookPeople | IndieBound

If you are like me, when you read Oh No, Astro! you will get about six of the They Might be Giants' "Here Comes Science" songs stuck in your head.

There's "What is a Shooting Star"...
A shooting star is not a star,
it's not a star at all.
A shooting star's a meteor
that's heading for a fall...
and "Science is Real"...
Science is real 
From the Big Bang to DNA 
Science is real 
From evolution to the Milky Way...
and, of course once you go there, you have to go to "Why Does the Sun REALLY Shine?"
The sun is a miasma 
Of incandescent plasma 
The sun's not simply made out of gas...
Or at least you will now (heh heh heh). Or, you're nothing like me, and you have NO idea what I am talking about, and you are heading to YouTube to check them out, just so you know I am not crazy (I suppose those aren't mutually exclusive...).

It isn't really through any fault (merit?) of the book, it's just that Astro is pretty cute (with his tiny arms and fondness of personal space) and he's quirky and funny, and so are these songs. They ARE about space after all. Anyone with me? Anyone?

Oh No, Astro! is a light take on the stuck-in-my-ways-a-little-afraid-to-change-until-something-happens-to-make-me-realize-everything-will-end-well story that happens somewhat regularly in kid lit, but it is entertaining - and it is about space, which is certainly not the norm. It also delivers a subtle science lesson in a way that keeps the story engaging while allowing kiddos to absorb knowledge, using words like "atmosphere," giving (a literal) nod to other parts of the solar system ("Hi, Mars!") and touching on an asteroid becoming a smaller version of itself, a meteorite, once it comes out of orbit and into Earth's atmosphere.

"As Astro zoomed past the moon, he realized with a sudden clarity where and how his journey would end." Upon entering Earth's atmosphere (which "tickles"), Astro finds himself "certainly smaller, but still in one piece." Once Astro makes this realization, he's able to find his happy ending - in a punny way, of course. 

Science is real, folks. Science is real.  

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