Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Super fun new science fiction!

Summer vacation just started and so has the blissfully un-pressured reading!  I don't usually read science fiction (although I'm always surprised that I like it more than I think I will!).    There are two that I read that I really enjoyed.

The first one is not brand new.  It's one on the Sunshine State Young Reader Award List this year.  It's called "Enginerds" by Jarrett Lerner.  It's a short, fast read about Ken who is part of a group of kids that he's known since he was in kindergarten.  They all like science and engineering and each of them has a different strength.  One day, Ken comes home to find a box on his front step.  He often gets presents from his grandfather so it's not too big of a shock, but the box is really heavy.  So he calls his best friend, Dan, and Dan helps him lug the box and start putting the thing together. It turns out the thing is a robot, but the robot seems to have a pretty limited skill set.  All it wants to do is eat.  Well, and poop.  Except when it poops, the poops come out like bullets.  So how can you lose?  Pooping robots?  A bit of a mystery?  Total destruction of the earth?  The kids are going to LOVE this one.  And there's room for this one to be part of series, I can't wait to see what the enginerds are going to come up with next.  Here's Jarrett telling about the book!

The second one doesn't come out until September, but it's so much fun, I couldn't wait to tell you about it.  It's by Jon Scieszka, who is one of my favorite authors ever.  It's a new series called AstroNuts.  This one is Mission One.  It has four hilariously narrow characters- AlphaWolf, who thinks he should be in charge (of everything), Smart Hawk, the planner and explorer, Laser Shark, relentlessly positive and always hungry, and Stinkbug, the negative voice and repair guy.  They are blasting off from an emergency rocket that has been hidden inside Thomas Jefferson's nose in Mount Rushmore.    They've been sent because humans have finally crossed the line of having too much CO2 in the atmosphere.  The Astronuts are on a mission to find a Goldilocks planet, one that is just right for humans to live on-not too much oxygen or carbon dioxide, but just the right amount.   Their first mission is to go to the Plant Planet, where, unsurprisingly, there are plants.  No animals, just plants.  And that's what's cool about this book, beyond all the body humor, there's also some terrific science.  The AstroNuts find that the planet has a completely different atmosphere because of the plants and it explains why.  There are text boxes that give you background information on the characters, they write reports, graphs, and diagrams.  There's also some very straightforward information about climate change as well as an epic battle and evil villains.  On top of the cool science information and the funny characters is the art work.  It's collage of engraved images from the Rijksmuseum with bright colors and cartoons over the top.  It feels a little manic at first, but in a really good way.  I think the kids are going to love this one.   Here's a link to the book's webpage, which has information about how the art work was created as well as ideas for creating your own work.

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