A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Planet Earth, the narrator, supplies lots of detail about climate change, global warming, pollution, and other pressing problems threatening Earth's -- and our -- survival. And why all that is sending the AstroNuts on missions to find a "Goldilocks" planet -- with everything just right for humans. Along the way, there's a lot of science-based detail about why the destination planet might not be as perfect as first thought. In addition, cultural icons like Mount Rushmore and a lot of art from the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands (explained in an afterword) are a big part of the plot and the illustrations. Clam characters on the Water Planet have names based on historical figures, e.g. Clam Resistance figures Susan B. Clamthony, Clam Guevara, Spartaclamus, and Clamjourner Truth.
Strong message that saving Planet Earth is up to all of us. Along the way, teamwork, collaboration, and everybody's particular talents save the day at various moments. Villains lead the cheer for "Money! Self-interest! Filibuster! Buying stuff! Monopoly!"
Positive Role Models
Mission Leader AlphaWolf tends to make foolish, dangerous choices driven by excitement and ego. But he realizes the error of his ways and tries to make things right. Fortunately his teammates all take their responsibilities a good deal more seriously, and their particular qualities and/or superpowers come in handy just when things look most dire. Planet Earth strongly stresses that saving the world is up to us.
Violence & Scariness
An asteroid takes out a building full of Bad Clams. Aside from the fact that Planet Earth (our relentlessly crabby narrator) is in constant peril from pollution, climate change, and other hazards, some residents of the Water Planet have imprisoned and enslaved others, in addition to other destructive behavior. A group of clam guerrillas plans to steam their enemies. Villains threaten to cut off Alpha Wolf's paw. Lots of comically scary monster images, many taken from medieval and Renaissance art.
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Much gross-out humor involving snot and poop.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet is the second installment in Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg's zany graphic-novel series that sends our well-meaning, oddly superpowered heroes AlphaWolf, StinkBug, LaserShark, and SmartHawk in search of a new planet for humans. Because, as cranky narrator Planet Earth reminds us, the current one is not long for this world at the rate we're going. Climate change, global warming, pollution, and other threats loom large in the story, as does assorted slapstick violence like one group of clams planning to steam another, bad guys planning to amputate a character's paw to get his pawprint without his consent, and villains wiped out by an asteroid. Much gross-out humor involving slimy substances and poop. Lots of comic treatment of cultural/historical icons. For example, the AstroNuts' spacecraft is actually Thomas Jefferson's nose from Mount Rushmore. Strong message of collaboration, teamwork (however flawed your teammates), and saving the planet.
Is It Any Good?
A visit to the planet of the clams unfolds amid wild visuals, slapstick humor, snarky observations from Earth (the narrator), and the best efforts of unlikely superheroes to achieve their mission. And maybe have a little fun with their latest enhancements, like shark fins and duck feet. There's a laugh a minute -- sometimes several -- in AstroNuts Mission Two: The Water Planet, but also a serious message that saving Earth and humanity from the deadly threats of climate change, pollution, and the like is up to all of us.
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