Friday, November 13, 2020

AstroNuts Blast Off Again!


AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet 
by Jon Scieszka; illus. by Steven Weinberg
228 pages; ages 8-12
Chronicle Books, 2020

Wildfires, floods, more hurricanes than we can name in a summer … in the midst of Climate Chaos wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find a solution? Maybe a superhero to help us out?

Fortunately, the four super-powered animal astronauts who launched into space last year – and got captured on the Plant Planet – are belted in and ready for blast-off. Well, at least three of them have fastened their seatbelts.

Again, Earth narrates: “Time is wasting. And my climate is getting worse … And a lot of your human activities are messing with my water, which, as you know, is 71% of my surface.” 

So with ice melting, sea levels rising, coral reefs dying, and plastic pollution blemishing the oceans, the four brave and accident-prone heroes set off to seek a water planet. Something with enough land for terrestrial species. Something not too hot, not too cold, just right. A goldilocks planet.

Upon their arrival at a water planet they are heartily welcomed by a committee of clams. They are wined and dined and toured around (the best parts of) the planet. The clam committee (why, is that Senator Clam McConnell I see?) insist that their planet is perfect in every way. So why are they terribly eager to trade planets? Why are they plotting to cut off AlphaWolf’s paw? And why won’t they let the Astronuts conduct their scientific study of the planet?

And now, a word from our sponsor - Earth.

What I like about this book: I love the nuggets of science tucked into the nooks and crannies and sometimes splashed across entire spreads. I love the glitch computer and NNASA reports. And I really love that the clams have one leg, and represent historical figures: Susan B. Clamthony sports a delightful full-length boot and remains as activist as ever.

As with the first book, there’s a couple pages at the back that describe how the collage illustrations were created. And there’s a challenge for readers to create their own collage artwork, along with a link to an Astronut website where you can download some helpful printouts.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I missed the first one of these. They sound fantastic! Will suggest them to school librarians I know. And perhaps I may need to take a peek, too. The jokes sound right up my son's alley. Thanks for the rec!

  2. I'm still sad that Scieszka hasn't done a middle grade novel based on his childhood growing up in a household full of boys! This seems a bit young, but I'm always looking for his newest titles.

  3. Such an inventive story idea! The science and environmental aspects have me hooked. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  4. What a clever way to get readers interested in climate change and weather events. With four plant astronauts, this sounds like a humorous and important read. Our reviews today deal with weather and climate change. What a great choice for sharing.

  5. I agree with Greg. It's so cool that the story includes science and environmental issues that are so relevant today.

  6. This sounds great. The committee of clams cracked me up. It sounds like a fun way to get some science to the kiddos. Thanks for telling me about it.

  7. This book sounds chock-full of fun little details! Historical figures turned into clams sounds quite delightful! I also love the environmental focus. Thanks for sharing this neat book!

  8. This sounds like fun! Thanks for putting it on my radar. Looks like the pages are bright and inviting. :) I always love books with nuggets of science.

  9. What a fun sounding series!i Thanks for the review!