Author and Illustrator: Russ Cox
Published May 5th, 2015 by Sky Pony Press
Goodreads Summary: This is the story of the adventure of a little boy named Sheldon and his dog, Jet. When Sheldon’s best friend moves away, Sheldon spies the word “Jupiter” painted on the side of the moving truck. Sheldon feels sad at first, but realizes that this is a sign—what he needs is a rocket ship! So Sheldon and Jet do some sketching and some scrounging, and, with a wagon full of equipment and supplies, the two future astronauts head to the backyard. With a glop and a wham, piece by piece the ship begins to take form, and soon it’s Commander Sheldon A. Flyer and Space Cadet Jet ready for takeoff! The duo jets around satellites, zooms by planets, speeds through space storms, and zips past other flying saucers . . . untilplop, they’ve arrived, somewhere with a green, alien life-form and a furry black blob.
This book encourages children to channel loneliness and boredom with creativity and imagination, and ultimately it is a story of new friendship. Featuring vibrant illustrations by debut author and illustrator Russ Cox, this action-packed story is sure to appeal to young readers in search of something that is out of this world!
My Review: I loved this story! It promotes imagination, has science elements, and is about the tough subject of friends moving away. When Sheldon’s best friend moves away, he believes he has moved to Jupiter so the only solution is to build a spaceship for himself and his dog, Jet, to go to Jupiter to see his friend. I adored that Sheldon went through a planning and sketching phase before building and “blasting off” with Jet. They then fly through outer space until a ship malfunction and a visiting alien change their plans. Children will love the colorful illustrations, fun adventure, and comic relief of Jet all while exploring themes of friendship, loss, and imagination.
P.S. The cover glows in the dark!!!!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, there are some deep themes that can be addressed while/after reading this book. I also think it will promote a want to build a space ship, and it would be great to have students plan and build a spaceship (maybe not life size, but for an egg or pipe cleaner person?). The book also has onomatopoeias throughout which always makes me happy as they may be my favorite type of figurative language, and there is also great vocabulary words throughout to learn about.
Discussion Questions: Before reading, look at the cover and predict what you think the book is about. After reading, look back at the cover. What did you predict correctly and incorrectly based on the cover?; Has a friend of yours ever moved away? How did it make you feel? What did you do to help deal with the loss?; If you could build a spaceship and visit anywhere, where would you go?; When Sheldon and Jet blasted off into space, did you catch the clue for the ending in the background?
“BLAST OFF! In a spectacular plume of smoke Sheldon and Jet roared into space.”
Read This If You Loved: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, Journey by Aaron Becker
**Thank you to Sara at Skyhorse Publishing for providing a copy for review!**