About the book:
Niko may live on boring old Earth with his family, but he’s always finding a new adventure. Using the spaceship that he built from a box in his backyard and a little imagination, he flies off into space with his robot, Radar, and his dog, Tag. The only one NOT invited is his sister Posh who keeps trying to insert herself into Niko’s story. In this first mission, Niko and crew (and maybe also pesky Posh) fly to the moon in search of a lost cat. Illustrated in comic–book style and featuring easy–to–read text packed with humor, Space Boy and His Dog is Niko’s first adventure, with two more books planned in the series.
My thoughts on the book:
When I am putting together a blog post, I tend to look at different resources like the publisher's website, GoodReads, and Edelweiss. It makes collecting the information for the post just a bit easier. Normally, I don't read the reviews by sites like Kirkus or School Library Journal or Publisher's Weekly until after writing my review. Somehow, accidentally maybe, I read the Publisher's Weekly review for Space Boy and His Dog. Here it is :
“Niko has an impressive space fantasy going, aided by a tricked-out cardboard-box rocket ship, his dog, his trusty robot toy, and Neubecker’s vivid, comically earnest cartooning. But his sister, Posh, keeps trying to hijack the narration, despite Niko’s admonition that “She is not in this story.”… Regan (Barnyard Slam) takes readers inside the head of a very imaginative child, honoring Niko’s desire to control his story while affectionately spoofing it. It’s a funny and fresh spin on sibling conflict…” - Publisher's Weekly
After reading that review, which really captured my thoughts, I knew I would need another approach. So let me share some interior images and tell you what i enjoyed about Space Boy and His Dog.
First, the illustrations and color choices make this book stand out. The illustrations are bright, and Neubecker's color pallet really works for this space-themed book.
Readers know early on that the story is about a little boy named Niko and this child has a very active imagination. (see image above) However, I love when an element gets thrown in and it is used successfully in the story. The element were the narrator is trying to negate something that is obviously part of the story. As a result, it becomes my favorite part of the story and the the following image captures the underlying theme -siblings. This story is of course NOT about Niko's sister Posh and she is NOT in this story. Even young readers catch onto the humor introduced from this point.
Another element in this book that I enjoyed was the graphic novel style panels that work to guide the reader and set off dialogue.
And we have Posh...oh right..she is not in this story.
Of course, even Space Captains need to take into consideration the feelings of their crew if they are going to get everyone safely home. More Posh. More humor.
Space Boy and His Dog is a fun read that younger children will definitely appreciate. The sense of adventure, the free-flowing imagination, the sibling rivalry, and the humor will capture readers and make this one to come back to for further readings.
Look for a copy of SPACE BOY AND HIS DOG at your local independent bookstore or public library.
About the creators:
Dian Curtis Regan is the author of the bestselling PRINCESS NEVERMORE and many books for young readers, ranging from picture books to young adult novels. Her books have received many honors, including Best Books for Young Adults and Children’s Choice Awards citations.
Robert Neubecker is the award-winning author-illustrator of WOW! CITY!; WOW! AMERICA!; and WOW! SCHOOL!, and the illustrator of THE PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING SCARED OF MONSTERS and its upcoming sequel THE PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING SCARED OF KIDS. He lives in Park City, Utah.