Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dr. Dominic Walliman,
designed and illustrated by Ben Newman. Flying Eye Books, 2013.

This is an amazing book.

I have wanted to get my hands on this book for months. There was a lovely feature on Brain Droppings back in September. Maria Popova's review, coupled with some other great book recommendations, were enough to have me on board, but the pictures! Gorgeous mid-century-inspired illustrations! Nobrow / Flying Eye Books are behind some of my favorite books of recent years, including the marvelous Hildafolk series. I've come to trust their taste and judgment.

Alas, my library never got this one. I finally got sick of waiting for it, and placed my very first inter-library loan. Thank you, libraries!

The author, Dr. Dominic Walliman, has a PhD in quantum device physics. In other words, he is very qualified to write a children's book about all aspects of space: the universe, the Big Bang, the birth and death of stars, galaxies, constellations, the sun, the solar system, the moon and other satellites, space travel (history, present, and future), rockets, telescopes, the possibility of life on other planets... Yes, all of these things are covered in this book.

All explained to you by a very groovy cat.

What's not to love?

This is the "all things space" book I've been waiting for. Someone is getting this for her birthday this year. Considering how overwhelmed I get when it comes to "Big Questions," it might as well be me. My birthday is next month anyway.

Read the fact above. Mindblowing.

It's all highly readable and engaging, too, especially older elementary-aged kiddos. It's even sold via the Smithsonian website, I noticed.

You can see more photos at Nobrow Press.

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DC Origin Stories (Little Sis Tuesday )

Today is Little Sis Tuesday, when my 7-year-old takes over the blog. All photos are hers, as well as all the words. I add the links, and check spelling and punctuation. - Danzel

DC Origin Stories: Wonder Woman and Batman by John Sazaklis, Superman and Green Lantern by Matthew K. Manning.
All books are illustrated by Luciano Vecchio.
DC Comics / Stone Arch Books (an imprint of Capstone Publishing), 2015. 

I like superheroes. I went to Superhero Camp last year. 

I got all of these books from the library. They're really easy. 

These are DC superheroes, not Marvel. Wonder Woman is my favorite. She's not just a superhero, she's a goddess! I saw the TV show, but I really want them to make a movie.

I saw the Tim Burton Batman movies, but I only liked the second one. It was cool. I liked Catwoman and the Penguin. Especially Catwoman.

Superman is cool, but he isn't my favorite. My favorite superheroes are born on Earth, not on Krypton. I've only seen the first old Superman movie.

I only know about Green Lantern because of this book.

Why do all the boy superheroes get all the cool stuff? Why does Wonder Woman just get an Invisible Jet that isn't really that cool? It just looks like a big glass plane. I want a Batmobile.

I watched some Marvel superhero movies this summer. I saw both Avengers movies in the wrong order, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Why does Black Widow not get a cool uniform?

I need to design my own superhero. 

Sorry for the photo quality. She insisted on doing this herself. She really loved these books, which she was able to zip through confidently and quickly. She doesn't know much about superheroes yet, but she's very interested. Her daddy has taught her about DC and Marvel, and she's learning who is who and such. Hope you enjoyed her little post! - Danzel (mom)

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Return To Oz: Dorothy in the Ornament Rooms

June 21 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Disney's Return to Oz. I still remember seeing it in the theater. It was at a mall, somewhere in Oklahoma. I know my sister and cousin were there, but I think there were more kids, too - second cousins, or my cousin's cousins, or something. The movie was weird and confusing, and there were some scary things, which I admit were my favorite parts. It has a great cast (a very young Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh), some interesting special effects, and a very good musical score. It lifts a bit from The Marvelous Land of Oz, a little bit more from Ozma of Oz, and pays a bit of homage to the 1939 MGM film, but it's a twisted mess that veers into a nightmarish territory L. Frank Baum would not have recognized. Of course, it's become a cult classic, and occupies a special place in the heart of many an '80s kid.

 I shared a Little Golden Book called Escape from the Witch's Castle two years ago. Here is a book I think we may have owned when I was a kid, but this copy came via the used book store, during the days when Return to Oz was Little Sis's favorite movie. It's a little Golden Look-Look Book, a small, cheap 8"x8" paperback. Like Escape from the Witch's Castle, no individual author or illustrator credit is given.

Return to Oz: Dorothy in the Ornament Rooms by Walt Disney Pictures
based on the screenplay by Walter Murch & Gill Dennis.
A Golden Book, Western Publishing Company, 1985.

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