cover image Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story

Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story

Mark Kelly, illus. by C.F. Payne. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5824-6

In an afterword, former astronaut Kelly (who is also the husband of Gabrielle Giffords) recalls that on his first Endeavor flight, the research mice on board would have nothing to do with weightlessness and clung to the mesh of their cage for the entire mission—except one, “smaller than the rest, [who] seemed to enjoy the experience and effortlessly floated around the cage.” Inspired by this real-life mouse, Kelly’s first children’s book tells the story of Meteor, a lightly anthropomorphized rodent who turns his tininess into an advantage when an important key gets stuck in a crack between two monitors. The understated, quietly intense prose (“ ‘This isn’t good,’ says the commander. ‘We need that key back’ ”) is just right for the particular breed of hero that is the American astronaut, and the narrative stakes are just high enough for the younger end of the target audience. Payne (Hide-and-Squeak) contributes muscular, handsomely textured images and vivid portraits that make it absolutely clear that space travel is a larger-than-life adventure. Ages 4–8. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Oct.)