cover image Astronaut Handbook

Astronaut Handbook

Meghan McCarthy, . . Knopf, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84459-1

McCarthy’s signature bug-eyed characters return for another nonfiction excursion, this time for astronaut training. Addressed as “you,” readers join three men and one woman as they undergo numerous tests of intellectual and physical endurance. Ever mindful of what fascinates her audience, McCarthy (Aliens Are Coming! ) also visits a space toilet (her diagram helpfully points out the “vacuum for solids” and “hose for liquids”) and devotes a spread to a ride on the legendary “Vomit Comet”—the airplane that NASA uses to give astronauts a momentary taste of weightlessness (the astronaut trainees remain unperturbed). The book signs off with a successful blastoff and a cheery, “Work hard and enjoy your time in space!” Bright, bold pictures and a wealth of information (including two full pages of facts and sources) take the place of Right Stuff bravado; this fare is strictly wholesome. Ages 5–8. (June)