Suzanne Slade & Nicole Tadgell’s Astronaut Annie is sweet, nuanced

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ASTRONAUT ANNIE, by Suzanne Slade and Nicole Tadgell, Tilbury House Publishers, March 6, 2018, Hardcover, $17.95 (ages 5-8)

Astronaut Annie, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, celebrates family and reaching for your dreams.

Annie is very excited for Career Day at her school. Everyone in her family can’t wait to find out what Annie wants to be when she grows up, but they’ll have to. She has to keep her plans secret until the big presentation on Friday.

That doesn’t keep Annie’s family from guessing, though. Grandpop thinks Annie might want to become a reporter like he was and gifts Annie his old camera. Grandma thinks Annie will become a bold and fearless cook. She gives Annie her mixing bowl and oven mitts. Dad thinks she’ll become a mountain climber and give Annie his large backpack. And Mom gives her high-top sneakers for playing basketball.

Throughout the week, Annie works long and hard on her costume for Career Day. When the big day finally comes, Annie’s whole family is there to cheer her on. As she puts on her costume in front of the crowd she incorporates her gifts from family into something entirely new — a spacesuit.

Astronaut Annie is a sweet story about staying true to yourself while embracing those around you. Slade’s story offers nuanced hints about Annie’s aspirations in a way that makes you smile while reading it. I love Annie’s creativity and ambition.

Tadgell’s illustrations, particularly those depicting Annie and her family evoke a warmth and love that practically bursts off the page.

Sections at the end featuring women in space and the moon add depth to Annie’s story and serve as great jumping-off points for further exploration. I’m excited to read this with my daughter when she’s a little bit older.

© 2018, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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