Skip to main content

Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence, 192 pp, RL 4



Star Scouts by Mike Lawrence is an extraordinary story of friendship, scout camp and competition that just happens to take place in outer space. But it begins on Earth with Avani Patel, new kid in town who loves rodeo and country music, unlike the girls in the Flower Scouts troop her father forced her to join. They love talking about boys, the heartthrob Chaz Wunderlip and makeup. Things take a sharp turn when, somewhere in space, Mabel is finishing up her homework. But, instead of teleporting a newt, she mistakenly zaps a "new kid."


Avani and Mabel become fast friends, and soon Avani gets her father's permission to go to scout camp, but not the camp he thinks. Instead of Flower Scout camp, Avani and Mabel head to Star Scout camp where she makes enemies straight away when she steps on the tail of a methane breather, or, as Avani mistakenly calls them, "toot breathers."



At Camp Andromeda, the rivalry between the oxygen breathers and the methane breathers heats up and Avani makes a misstep that almost gets her sent home from camp. But, the benevolent and massive alien Franny and Greg, her three-eyed, mustachioed Assistant Master Scout, agree to let the two groups compete for the most badges by the end of the week, the loser agreeing to head home. It turns out that, while all creatures are invited to send their young to Camp Andromeda, Earthlings have never proven themselves worthy of attending camp and becoming a Star Scout.

Mike Lawrence's illustrations are stellar. His characters are detailed and painted with a rich, moody palette. Their expressions, whether they have two eyes and a fringe of dark bangs like Avani or little eyes and a parrot-y beak, are immediate and engaging. Lawrence's world building is superb! In the 21st century, we may feel like we have a pretty good idea of what space stations and aliens look like by now, Lawrence brings creativity and surprise to this very funny novel of standing out and fitting in. It's also very, very cool that the main character is an Indian American, and a girl at that!

Whether Star Scouts is the first in a series or a stand alone, Mike Lawrence is a graphic novelist I will look for on the shelves from now on!

Source: Review Copy

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …