A trip to the moon in search of a neighbor’s lost cat is all in a day’s work for Niko and his crew.
Space hero Niko puts the finishing touches on an elaborate cardboard-and-tape construction on the title page. His mom and dad “let him park his spaceship in the backyard.” When Niko, his dog, Tag, and his co-pilot, Radar (whose robot expressions vary from worried to happy/worried), spot a “lost cat” poster, they blast off to search the moon for the missing feline. But this heroic account has a glitch—Niko’s sister, Posh (who “lives on Planet Home, too”), stows away. The third-person narrative adds to the humor, as Niko’s voice breaks through to declare—erroneously—about Posh: “…she is not in this story.” Neubecker’s illustration shows Niko’s enormous hands in the foreground, trying to block readers’ views of Posh. While Niko and crew search the cratered surface (where a tiny moon creature peers from the edge of the page), Posh strategically deploys Tag’s treats, and readers may anticipate what happens. Eight brief chapters nicely pace the action: “To the Moon!”; “Lost Sister”; “Home in Time for Dinner.” Neubecker’s solid lines and bright colors channel comic-book art, with multiple frames carrying the narrative on several pages.
The themes of imaginary play and sibling rivalry provide good-natured support for a lighthearted, easy-to-read adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)