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Great Illustrated Books

Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity

By Dave Roman

First Second, 2011
Pages : 192
Suggested Ages: 9-14
ISBN: 9781596437562

Hakata Soy leaves his past as the leader of a superhero team to attend Astronaut Academy, a school on a space station orbiting Earth.  He hopes to make a fresh start in life, but his heroic past keeps catching up with him.  All he wants to do is study for his classes in Fire Throwing and Anti-Gravity Gymnastics, but when a lookalike robot arrives at Astronaut Academy on a mission to destroy him, Hakata Soy just can’t do as he pleases.  His adventures unfold in an appealing cute and cartoony art style, and in several narrative voices.

Roman’s use of several of Hakata Soy’s fellow students to tell the story allows readers to see the protagonist from different viewpoints and keeps the action moving at a quick pace, sweeping readers along with the humor, adventure, and suspense.  Along the way, they get to know the other characters – archrivals Miyumi San and Maribelle Mellonbelly, who compete for Hakata Soy’s attention; tough athlete Tak Offsky; and Doug Hiro, who always wears his space helmet – as well as Hakata Soy.  The girls take part in the action just as much as the boys, so this book will attract lots of readers who want a fun story with just enough peril to keep things interesting.

Reviewed by : KK

Themes : GRAPHIC NOVELS. HEROES. SCHOOLS & SCHOOL STORIES. SCIENCE FICTION.

If you love this book, then try:

Deutsch, Barry. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. Amulet Books, 2010.


Varon, Sarah. Robot Dreams. First Second, 2007.


Pierce, Lincoln. Big Nate: In a Class by Himself (Big Nate series). HarperCollins, 2010.

Critics have said

"The black-and-white pencil illustrations invoke the artistic style of a manga, but many of Roman's unique theatrical elements, including boys concerned with "cool hair" and wheeled dinosaurs used for moon racing, create a universe unto its own."
School Library Journal

"This book will make readers want to flip through the author's doodle pad, in case he has ideas that are even wilder."
Kirkus Reviews