Big Stuff: Planes, Rockets, Spacecraft! (Joan Holub)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Big Stuff: Planes, Rockets, Spacecraft!, written by Joan Holub and illustrated by The Little Friends of Printmaking, a neat board book introduction to various aeronautical and astronautical vehicles.

Aspiring high-fliers and young fans of big machines are introduced to twenty different types of aircraft and spacecraft through adorable anthropomorphized illustrations and tons of fascinating information. Diagrams and fun facts explore the science and history behind machines like rockets, hot-air balloons, and jet planes. Young readers can learn about the past behind this “big stuff,” and where the sciences of flight and space exploration are headed in the future.

Extremely informative and accessible. This board book presents a wonderful midway point between simple identification and more in-depth scientific principles by keeping the STEM and historical information easy-to-digest. Most of the facts are presented in first-person from the air- and spacecrafts themselves, giving it a personal and approachable tone without dumbing any of the science down. Some characterizations of military vehicles do feel a little disingenuous of their purpose (“We work hard protecting your family and this nation,” a pack of fighter jets proclaim), but for the most part, the dialogue and information covered centers more around function and design than practical use. The artwork is both cute and cool, and will appeal to young vehicle-lovers immensely. The length is best for when little bookworms have time to sit down and pour over the info; you could read it as a storytime book, but you would need to skip most of the more detailed sections to do so. JJ did enjoy this though, and we would recommend it; Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Hey-Ho, To Mars We’ll Go!: A Space-Age Version Of “The Farmer In The Dell” (Susan Lendroth)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hey-Ho, To Mars We’ll Go!: A Space-Age Version Of “The Farmer In The Dell”, written by Susan Lendroth and illustrated by Bob Kolar. This delightful take on the classic nursery rhyme teaches readers about what it would take to explore the next great destination in space travel, Mars.

Using the familiar cadence of “The Farmer In The Dell”, the text takes us through a theoretical journey to the red planet, beginning with the vehicles it would require, the planning and logistics that would need to be done, and the supplies that would need to be brought. It then follows our intrepid quartet of young astronauts along their journey, explaining their gear, food, sleeping arrangements, and everyday life through the long zero-gravity journey to Mars.

What a lovely surprise this was! I had expected a fun, imaginary interplanetary journey, which the story provides, but was so tickled to find that most of the content was grounded in the real science of astronautics! In addition to the rhyming quartet each page presents, there is also a paragraph explaining things like how a vessel large enough to travel to Mars would need to be built, how astronauts could grow plants for food in space, how an astronaut takes a shower, and so on. Most of these facts were new to me as well as JJ, and made for a fascinating and fun read! The bright, cheerful illustrations of the little astronauts and their journey are visually engaging while being informative, and we LOVED the detail of the text slowing being rotated when the story enters zero-gravity, adding an interactive element that JJ went wild for. The length was great, and it was a perfect balance of learning and fun – great for future astronauts and fans of STEM. Enthusiastically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)