Two friends on Earth explore the solar system through an out-of-this-world tale about their space-traveling pets.
Sarah, sick in bed, is thrilled when her friend Jill comes to visit, since after organizing her socks and reading all of her books, she’s gotten pretty bored. To entertain her friend, Jill uses a nonfiction book about the solar system as framework for an adventure story starring their pets. Capt. Riley the dog, Cmdr. Pepper the cat, engineer Fortinbras the hamster, and science officer Slithers the snake are led by an AI named Precise Astronomical Locator (P.A.L. for short) who is obsessed with the game chess. They visit all eight planets, including Earth, and send reports back to Sarah in order to spark her interest and enthusiasm, which translates into the fuel they need to feed their spaceship—EnthusiPlasma! Through a bubbly plot and charming graphic-novel illustrations, author Mosco and illustrator Chad (with colorist Healy) create a world in which learning really is fun and even the faraway Pluto comes within reach. Concepts such as gravity and fusion are clearly explained with help from accompanying diagrams. Dialogue among both humans and animals feels natural, and the illustrations are colorful and vibrant; that Sarah and Jill are both kids of color is another plus. Backmatter includes a glossary and a guide to watching meteor showers.
An anything-but-boring introduction to the beautiful mysteries of the universe. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-14)