Koll and Mills explore how numbers help us get into outer space.
Wait...please retake your seats. This is not higher math—imaginary numbers and the calculations for Higgs boson and the like—but some fairly everyday math (though, beware, a protractor makes an appearance) used in the flight of a rocket into space. Using the dramatic coloration and panels of a comic book, the book offers brief introductions to the history of rocketry, the shapes and sizes of rockets, and the countdown checkoff sequence. Some material is introduced that leaves too much unsaid—“Scientists measure the weight of things in units called newtons.” Fig Newtons? Isaac Newtons?—but for the most part, everything is crystal clear. But the guy who runs away with the show is black astronaut Mike, who acts as tour guide to a girl trainee of Asian descent and administers quizzes and simple mathematical problems, most of which can be done in your head. “Round the height of each building and rocket to the nearest 10 feet,” or, bringing your own high-tech instrument into play, “Use a protractor to measure the angles the rocket has leaned over in Steps 3, 4, and 5.” Additional, somewhat more challenging questions are boxed off to the side. Answers and a glossary, thankfully, appear at the end of the book.
Simple amusement and simple instruction add up to a winning combination. (index) (Graphic nonfiction. 7-14)