Bee dazzled! On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will darken the sky, making planets and constellations visible in the daytime. Newsbee is hyping this happening with an “All Eyes on the Sky” theme.
You won’t need to wear your eclipse glasses to “Page On” with these Picks, but be sure you’ve got them for next month’s once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will be one you’ll never forget.
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For some, nighttime brings terror — imaginings that make the blood run cold. So it goes with a boy who finally puts his fears to bed in “The Darkest Dark,” by Astronaut Chris Hatfield, who writes of his own misgivings as a child in this marvelous read.
It’s 1969, and Chris dreams of being an spaceman — his fantasy “saving the planet from aliens.” Armed with a space gun, his dog by his side, Chris ferrets out evil, but at night he quakes, imagining eyes in the bushes and creatures lurking about.
His parents tell him no more sleeping in their bed — too many sleepless nights. Chris tries to go it alone, but he’s terrified, calling Mom and Dad to his room to search and assure him he’s the sole occupant of his room. A nightlight doesn’t work, nor does an alarm bell.
It takes a world event — a walk on the moon — to change the boy.
Illustrations by the Fan Brothers offer dazzling palettes and just a scarce bit of scare in their depiction of the aliens.
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A bitty mouse has big dreams in “Armstrong, the Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon,” by Torben Kuhlmann. Each night, Armstrong watches the skies, filled with fascination for the moon. He goes a step further and observes it through a telescope, diligently recording his findings — deducing that the moon is made of rock.
His mousey friends believe otherwise and are convinced the moon is made of cheese, a heaven-sent orb that sets their mouths to watering.
Armstrong is determined to prove them wrong and plans to launch himself into space, after designing a space suit of ordinary household objects and testing it in a goldfish bowl full of water, and a goldfish too.
Next he must discover a way to catapult himself into space — in a lighthearted read starring an admirable pint-sized hero. Sepia-toned illustrations highlight Armstrong’s marvelous mission, and a “Short History of Space Travel” in the back of the book offers photographs and biographies of space travelers.
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Shine on “Superstar,” an engaging book by Mandy Davis, stars a unique protagonist who succeeds despite many trials.
Lester and his mother used to live in Florida, before Lester’s father, an astronaut, died in a space mission. Though it’s been five years, Lester’s mom still has trouble talking about it.
After the tragedy, they moved to Indiana, where Lester’s mom homeschooled the bright boy, who’s the essence of innocence, overlaid with quirkiness. When his mom accepts a library job, Lester is enrolled in fifth grade at Quarry Elementary.
So begins a difficult process, akin to fitting a square peg into a round hole. Lester possesses a sharp mind for science and space, but doesn’t relate well to his classmates — other than Abby, who treats him kindly.
Lester is the object of bullying because he talks loud, yet can’t stand loud noises. He also takes things people say too literally, and dashes out of situations when his emotions get the best of him.
The school’s science fair offers Lester a chance to excel, but his aeronautical entry may be as doomed.
Kudos to debut author Davis for crafting a smart, well-written book. Her star is a hero with clay feet, lovable and humble Lester —who has much to teach us all.