cover image Oh No, Astro!

Oh No, Astro!

Matt Roeser, illus. by Brad Woodard. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3976-3

In deepest, blackest space lives Astro, an antisocial asteroid. “All Astro wanted was for his personal outer space to be respected,” writes Roeser, a children’s book designer making his debut as author. The chunky green space rock is doing fine until a passing satellite, as smilingly clueless as Astro is persnickety, crashes into Astro and sends him hurtling toward Earth. “I don’t like confrontation!” shouts Astro in the book’s funniest scene as he enters the atmosphere of a worried-looking Earth. While the hasty ending doesn’t make quite as big an impact as Astro does (he stays intact after his collision, loses his hauteur, and befriends an amateur astronomer named Nova), as a character study the book has the right stuff. The precocious narration (filled with delicious words like “rambunctious” and “distraught”), coupled with Astro’s arch speaking style (including exclamations like “Good gravity!” and “Pluto’s revenge!”), is great fun to read aloud, and fellow newcomer Woodard’s Jetsons-esque style and bright palette bring just the right Space Age atmosphere to the story. A lively afterword addresses questions about orbits, asteroids, and more. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)