CatStronauts: Mission Moon -- CatStronauts, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
CatStronauts: Mission Moon -- CatStronauts, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Successful launch of fun series starring heroic space cats.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Explains some real-world challenges such as growing energy consumption and the challenge of sustainable power. Depicts some components of the space program, including training with a G-force simulator and zero-gravity plane and the steps to launch. There's even a nod to history's heroes with a feline Neil Armstrong cheering the mission from Earth.

Positive Messages

Strong emphasis on teamwork and self-control, particularly the importance of putting personal interests aside in pursuit of a common goal. Shows how perseverance, commitment, courage, and innovative thinking are all needed to solve problems in tense circumstances. Good message on moving forward with a task even when things don't go perfectly according to plan. Sometimes the most complex problems can be solved very simply.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each of the CatStronauts makes a distinct contribution to the mission in a clutch situation. Two cats make an error in judgment that lets down the rest of the team: They feel terribly about it, but they each are able to make amends. The CatStronauts get much of the attention, but the team at mission control provides essential support. Major Meowser can be brusque, but he's a focused, strong leader who appreciates the talents of his team and helps them do their best work. The World's Best Scientist strikes upon a good plan, but as in real life he first brainstorms and discards some duds ("Use electricity every other Tuesday?")

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that CatStronauts: Mission Moon is the first in a graphic novel series by Drew Brockington that celebrates space science and teamwork. (The second book, Race to Mars, was released simultaneously.) Set in a world populated by cats, the series re-creates the challenges and training involved in astronautical missions. There's a bit of real science, from discussion of sustainable energy to the logistics of preparing for a launch, but also plenty of feline fun.

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What's the story?

CATSTRONAUTS: MISSION MOON finds the president of the United States learning about a global energy crisis when the lights in the Oval Office start flickering. He turns to the World's Best Scientist, who proposes building a solar power plant on the moon. The CatStronauts team -- Waffles, Major Meowser, Pom Pom, and Blanket -- are chosen for the high-stakes job. The feline team races through speeded-up training so they can save the world from darkness. But they start running into problems before they even make it to the moon. It's going to take ingenuity, resourcefulness, and teamwork to get the job done -- luckily, the CatStronauts have all that in spades.

Is it any good?

Author and illustrator Drew Brockington tests the theory that everything is better with cats -- and finds the answer is a cheerful yes with this charming series on a super-team of feline astronauts. In CatStronauts: Mission Moon, Brockington -- a proud Space Camp alum -- strikes upon a winning formula: Start with some solid science, add a sprinkle of history, and throw in plenty of puns. He works in cat jokes throughout the lively text and visual elements, from the floating tuna can progressing across each chapter page to the ball of yarn used to patch a broken part. The squat cats are full of personality, from the always-hungry Waffles to the no-nonsense Major Meowser. Science doesn't get cuter than this.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the cat-centric world of CatStronauts: Mission Moon. Why make this book about cats and not human astronauts?

  • Have you ever been let down by a teammate who lost sight of the goal -- or been the one to let the team down? How did you feel?

  • How does this book compare with other stories you've read or seen about the challenges of space exploration?

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