Young Carl Sagan looks endearingly like his grown-up self, with expressive dark eyebrows and a cheerful look of inquiry, in this warm account of the life of the notable scientist.
Sisson captures an important moment in young Sagan’s life. In a library, where he has been handed a book on stars, “Carl’s heart beat faster with every page he turned.” The next double-page spread offers a vertical orientation and a gatefold opening skyward, as if Carl himself were soaring into space. He imagines extraterrestrial life and space travel among the planets—and though he can’t wish himself to Mars, he finds a way to get there in spirit. The text sums this up with brevity: “He studied life and space and became… / …Dr. Carl Sagan.” Sisson’s economical narrative and lighthearted illustrations convey Sagan’s regard for the power of imagination and his generous approach to knowledge. She includes the accomplishments for which Sagan will be remembered: his passion for science and space discovery that he shared with the world through his television appearances and the creation and launching of space missions—in particular the Voyager probes, with their recordings of Earth sounds and sights. Abundant backmatter (oddly missing Sagan’s birth date) is compactly delivered in a two-page spread with a list of quotations and sources, a bibliography/resource list and an author’s note.
Both friendly and inspiring—just like its subject. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)