Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story



Charming tale of mouse helping astronauts on shuttle flight.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Gives an idea of a manned spaceflight is like, with a diverse group of astronauts training to prepare for the mission, then experiencing blastoff, liftoff, weightlessness, a space walk, and conducting experiments. A lengthy Afterword gives a detailed account of the space shuttle program and author Mark Kelly explains the true part of his "partially true" mouse story. 

Positive messages

Work hard for what you want, and do everything you can to help your team, using your special abilities, when there's a crisis.

Positive role models

Little mouse Meteor works hard to achieve his goal of being selected for a space mission and is helpful when an astronaut gets in trouble.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mousetronaut is the story of a brave mouse named Meteor who goes on a space shuttle mission and helps the astronauts when they get into trouble. It's by retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a four-time veteran of the space shuttle and husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrilelle Giffords. This fictional story was inspired by Kelly's first flight on space shuttle Endeavour, when he took a cage full of 18 mice, and one stood out among the others. Kids will enjoy this insider's view of space flight, and a the thrill of a very little guy saving the day.

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What's the story?

A cute mouse named Meteor is smaller and weaker than the other NASA mice but hopes to be chosen for a space mission and works hard to get stronger. An astronaut is impressed by his effort and selects him. Then during the flight, when an astronaut drops an important key in a tight spot, Meteor squeezes in and saves the mission.

Is it any good?


The outcome is somewhat predictable, but MOUSESTRONAUT is appealing for its cute main character and engaging art. It succeeds as an insider's view of manned space flight, with lots of information about the space shuttle program in the substantial Afterword that parents and teachers can share with kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about space travel, NASA and the U.S. space program. Would you like to be an astronaut?

  • What other books or movies have given you a good idea of what it's like to go on a mission in space?

  • How do you think it would feel to be a tiny mouse in a spaceship? Can you see why some of the mice clung to the sides of their cage the whole way?

Book details

Author:Mark Kelly
Illustrator:C.F. Payne
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, History, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:October 9, 2012
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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