Mission Moon

9780316307475. ea vol: illus. by Drew Brockington. 160p. (CatStronauts). Little, Brown. Apr. 2017. Tr $15.99. pap. $7.99. ebk. $9.99.
Gr 2–5—Major Meowser leads a ragtag crew of feline astronauts (the "CatStronauts") whose goal is to save the planet and earn the coveted position of world's most advanced space program. In Mission Moon, the president of the United States asks the "World's Best Scientist" for help after learning that Earth is experiencing a global energy crisis and is about to go dark for good. After formulating a scheme to cover the moon in solar panels to harvest energy for Earth, the president and the scientist call on the CatStronauts to bring the plan to fruition. In Race to Mars, four competing space initiatives, including the CatStronauts's C.A.T.S.U.P. program, race to make history as the first cats to set paw on Mars. But problems arise when the rushed pace results in unnecessary errors, forcing the felines to act quickly and avoid catastrophe. Despite the weighty nods to historical events (the Cold War space race), potential future manned space missions, and global energy concerns, both volumes manage to remain consistently cheery and humorous. The jokes, which are mostly cat puns or based on cat behaviors, are occasionally repetitive and predictable. However, the inclusion of a female CatStronaut, the engagingly lighthearted drama and positive resolutions, and the expressive characters, who are as adorable as they are adventurous, provide enough variation to more than make up for it. Soft retro pastels, reminiscent of the art of the 1950s, nicely complement the sometimes cluttered, sometimes airy panels and mostly steady line work.
VERDICT Fun purchases that will do well on their own or paired with heavier nonfiction titles on history or the environment.

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