May 6 – International Space Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-otter-in-space

About the Holiday

Each year International Space Day is observed on the first Friday in May to commemorate the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities of space exploration. The goal of International Space Day is to promote math, science, technology and engineering education to inspire students to pursue a career in science and especially a career in space-related fields.

Otter in Space

By Sam Garton

 

On Sunday Otter goes to the museum with Otter Keeper and Teddy to see the Space Exhibition. They see a Triceratops skeleton and meet a stuffed bear that must be Teddy’s cousin. On the walls are old paintings made before the invention of crayons, and ancient, interesting things are everywhere.

Otter likes all these exhibits, but her favorite is the room dedicated to outer space—there are buttons to push just like a real astronaut, videos to watch, and a rock that came all the way from the moon. At last Otter gets to go to the gift shop. She loads up her arms with toys, but Otter Keeper says, “One thing only.” The spaceship travels home with them, but Otter and Teddy really want a moon rock too.

The next day while Otter Keeper is at work, Otter and Teddy play with their new spaceship, but it’s just not as fun without a moon rock. Teddy suggests going back to the museum, but no one can drive them. Otter thinks and thinks and suddenly has “the best idea ever!” She and Teddy will blast to the moon and retrieve a moon rock.

Otter makes a very important list of very important things to do. After lunch she builds two space suits and starts training. Although Teddy has some trouble keeping his space suit on and with problem solving, his performance in anti-gravity training is impressive so they move on to constructing the spaceship. With ingenuity and a bunch of household items, Otter builds a rocket and takes it to the Launchpad.

With Giraffe at “mishun control” lift-off is easy, but the moon landing is a little bumpy. Otter’s suit gets torn, but she perseveres and discovers the perfect moon rock nearby. It’s huge! With a little trouble Otter and Teddy transport it back to Earth, where it makes a perfect companion, playing board games and pirates—until Otter Keeper comes home and says it has to go back where it belongs.

The discussion is carried over to dinnertime, and Otter Keeper relents when he sees how serious Otter is in her space suit. If Otter cleans the moon rock she can keep it, says Otter Keeper. But one more restriction has been added to the Otter DO NOT list: dig up moon rocks! That’s okay, though. There are other things to dig up on the moon—like a dinosaur!

Sam Garton’s Otter in Space is a cute, spot-on portrayal of the fantastic ideas kids get when exposed to new concepts or places. Told from Otter’s point of view, the text hits on the serious-yet-humorous observations of kids: the gift shop as the favorite museum “exhibit,” a lingering regret for the toy left behind, and “the best ideas ever!” to correct situations.

Garton’s colorful illustrations of wily Otter and her faithful Teddy as they visit the museum, plan their space trip with the help of Giraffe and other toys, and blast off wearing a cereal box space suit are endearing. Kids will giggle at Teddy’s anti-gravity training in the washing machine. They and their parents will also appreciate Otter’s crafty discovery of the moon rock in the garden and recognize with a laugh his adoption of it as a member of the family.

Otter in Space is a book kids will want to explore again and again!

Ages 4 – 8

Balzar + Bray, Harper Collins, 2015 | ISBN 978-0062247766

International Space Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-rocket

Create a Soft Book, Page 6—Rocket

 

Blast off with fun on Page 6 of your soft book with this shiny rocket on its way to an undiscovered planet! See previous posts from May 1 through 5 for each page of the book.

Supplies

  • Printable Rocket Template
  • Adhesive felt or foam letters
  • Tin foil
  • Felt, fleece, or foam in various colors of your choice (I used aqua, white, yellow, and purple)
  • Scissors
  • Strong glue or fabric glue

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-rocket-and-parrot

Directions

  1. Cut out the rocket and feet from tin foil
  2. Cut out the nose cone and body stripe from felt, fleece or foam
  3. Cut out the round window from white felt, fleece, or foam
  4. Cut out the planet from your choice color of felt, fleece, or foam
  5. Cut out planet’s ring from your choice color of felt, fleece, or foam
  6. Glue rocket and feet to page
  7. Fit ring around planet and glue to page
  8. Attach adhesive letters to page, making sure they are stuck firmly. If they aren’t use fabric glue

I hope you enjoy your book!

Picture book review

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