Moving is always hard, especially if you are 8 years old and your new home is a new planet.
The year is 2120, and Zack Nelson and his twin sisters, Cathy and Charlotte, are moving to Nebulon. Zack will especially miss his dog Luna and friend Bert. Zack’s vivid fear of the future is explored in a dream sequence in which he imagines his new classmates to be monsters who eat bug-covered pizzas. The reality is quite different, and Zack ends up making a new friend on the first day. Worldbuilding is critical at the beginning of a series, and this world is close enough to Earth for new readers to identify with but alien enough to keep their attention. The cars are actually like tiny spaceships, and the houses are shiny white with rounded edges. Best of all is Ira, short for Indoor Robotic Assistant. Ira makes meals, provides wake-up music, adjusts the shower temperature and makes living on Nebulon pleasant for nervous Zack. More Jetsons than Star Trek, this light tale for new readers is illustrated in a cartoon style that allows readers to feel Zack’s pain but happily anticipate the strange new world ahead of him.
Zack feels like a new best friend, even if he lives light years away. (Science fiction. 5-9)