Oh No, Astro!, a new book by Matt Roeser and illustrated by Brad Woodard, will make anyone smile- and not just because of the great triple rhyme in the title. Oh No, Astro! is a carefully crafted tale of science and hilarity, which excels at teaching about the cosmos without being too obvious about that goal.
Astro is an asteroid who just wants his “personal outer space” to be respected, but he is knocked out of orbit when a satellite comes too close and col
lides with him. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and insists that he dislikes confrontation, a moment that will make both kids and adults laugh. After he breaks through the atmosphere- now a much smaller asteroid- and lands, he declares that his adventure was actually fun. He wonders out loud “what on Earth” to do next with his new friend, a little girl named Nova.
The writing is clear and direct, while incorporating interesting vocabulary like “rambunctious” and “celestial.” In the silly dialogue, Roeser uses plenty of exclamation points, but they are not distracting, instead adding to the impact of jokes like “GOOD GRAVITY! You’ve struck me!”
The weaving in of scientific facts about outer space was deft, and the book could certainly be used in an elementary classroom to introduce the topic. The back of the book also gives “A Selection of Space Facts” which are both informative and consistently amusing.
Woodard’s illustrations are simple, at times echoing a comic book style. This nicely compliments the lack of dialogue in the above pages, where numerous objects in outer space watch Astro hurtling by them. The chalky drawings on a dark background work well alongside splatter-paint-like touches, especially on a two-page spread of the word SMASH.
Perspective and placement of the text is excellent, drawing the reader into the book’s unified atmosphere of, well, outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This appeal of Oh No, Astro! goes far beyond teachers needing to introduce outer space, making it an excellent read for anyone in need of a good laugh.
Post by Sophia Denney