ASTRONUTS: MISSION THREE: THE PERFECT PLANET
By: Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by: Steven Weinberg
Published: September 21, 2021
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Four animals have been hybridized to find another planet for the Humans to live on since they have destroyed Planet Earth. In Mission One and Mission Two, they fly their Abraham Lincoln Beard rocket from its launching pad on Mount Rushmore and head to the other planets. By Mission Three, they have one last chance to find the perfect planet for Humans.
This time, to find the perfect planet, the four animals, AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug decide the only way is to save Planet Earth before the humans ruin it. To do that they need to travel back in time 999,999 years.
When they arrive back in time, they land in a perfectly balanced ecosystem. All the animals seem to coexist with each other, there is plenty of food, there is plenty of shelter and water. Plus, they meet the Sapien family, humans that live in a cave. They have to believe that there is hope to retrain the Sapiens to make sure that they take care of their planet so it is still viable 100,000 years and more later.
Through an Olympic competition, the four animals, the Sapiens, and Wolves compete using Wind Power, Solar Power, Hydropower, and Geothermal Power to be the ultimate Olympic champion. The animals weren’t prepared for who would actually win and have to come up with a new plan to save the planet, or do they?
This graphic novel is silly, snarky, educational, and all-around fun. If you have a spunky tween, a reluctant reader, or a kid who believes in saving the planet, this book and series are just for them. While reading, I was envisioning kids from school who would love StinkBug’s silly antics and baby Urp’s idea begging to be heard.
By the end of the book, also the end of the series, the four animals have succeeded in finding a habitable place for humans and successfully taught the Sapiens better ways to live and to save the environment for future generations. This story is so fun kids won’t even realize that it is also educational. Kids will learn about how Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Hydropower all work to create energy and why those four options are better for the environment. There are also several informational boxes that teach kids about real scientists in history that had an impact in space or here on Earth.
The illustrations are unique using drawings, photographs, and a combination of the two. Each of the four main character animals is assigned their own color so it is easy to know who is talking and Earth narrates the story. Even though I only read the third book in the series and was able to follow along with the story, I think reading all three would be a much better experience.
Jon Scieszka is best known for his bestselling picture books, including The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man. He is also the founder of guysread.com and a champion force behind guyslisten.com and was the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. He lives in the Catskills in New York. Check out his website, HERE.
Steven Weinberg writes and illustrates kids’ books about dinosaurs, roller coasters, beards, and chainsaws. He also lives in the Catskills in New York.