A young astronaut and her toy friends go on a dream-time adventure in this children’s tale by debut author Burney with illustrations by De La Roche and Williams Sticka.
Rikki is a pale-skinned girl with pigtails who wears pink and carries a toy rocket ship—a wonderful story setup that shows young readers that there’s no contradiction between liking things that are typically girl-assigned and liking science. The youngster, like most good child-scientists, is always asking questions about why the world is the way it is. At night, Rikki and her mother, who’s darker-skinned with curly hair, pretend to fly her rocket to outer space. Mommy brings out Rikki’s toys, the Rocket Twins, to liven up the game. When it’s time for sleep, the girl and the twins travel through the solar system, voyaging from the sun all the way to dwarf planets Pluto and Eris. Each spread has a similar format: the twins are shown doing something silly (such as baking pizza on the moon, roller-skating on Saturn’s bumpy rings, or flying a kite on freezing, windy Neptune), while the text offers general information about the planet, as well as a sidebar with a question from Rikki. There are also text boxes with facts from the Rocket Twins and great illustrations that highlight where each planet is in the planetary order. Parents who miss Pluto being included in books on the solar system will rejoice to see that its dwarf planet categorization doesn’t keep it out of this book. There are occasional moments of rhyme (“Every time she looks up at the sky, her mind is filled with questions of why?”) that stand out amid the largely non-rhyming text. Overall, budding astronomers and astronauts will find the vocabulary to be approachable, and the book’s presentation of a mixed-race family is overwhelmingly positive.
A fun, whimsically illustrated book about space exploration that’s definitely worth adding to classroom and school libraries.