cover image Mission One: The Plant Planet (AstroNuts #1)

Mission One: The Plant Planet (AstroNuts #1)

Jon Scieszka, illus. by Steven Weinberg. Chronicle, $14.99 (220p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7119-7

Scieszka (the Frank Einstein series) and Weinberg (Fred & The Lumberjack) begin a new middle grade series with this tale of ecological stewardship and teamwork centered on the search for a Goldilocks planet: neither too hot nor too cold, and able to sustain human life. As Earth narrates, the dapper AstroWolf leads a team to the Plant Planet. The mission’s engineered, untested animal astronauts include four hybrids: AstroWolf, ultra-organized SmartHawk, nurturing (and electromagnetic) LaserShark, and odiferous StinkBug, all members of NNASA (Not the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). After taking off from their Mt. Rushmore headquarters in a Thomas Jefferson Nose Rocket and making a crash-landing, the team quickly finds that while the lush, lovely Plant Planet is filled with food and the underpinnings of shelter, it seems to be missing a vital component. Alongside trademark Scieszka humor and vivid digital collage by Weinberg, which features engravings from the collection of Amsterdam’s Rijkmuseum, the vital environmental message and the vibrantly imagined, quirky characters will garner hefty enthusiasm for future installments. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)