Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Today's read... Sailing to the Stars by Amie and Marty McCracken... a bilingual read!

 When the author of today's read approached me with a bilingual read...and that in English/ reader heart went pitter-patter. And the cover...well, it reminded me instantly of some beloved cartoon characters in Germany. So, I had to take a peek. This one comes with the two languages very distinctly divided, so even readers of just one language will have no problem enjoying it.

But before I say more, let's just shoot off to the stars and see what adventures we'll find!

Sailing the Stars, Book 1
by Amie and Marty McCracken
Chapter Book
ages 5 to 10

Kiki never knew friends existed.

Until he started to explore the universe.
And someone invited him to play tag.

Kiki is an orphan, adopted by his friend Frank, and living on the spaceship Marauder. But Kiki would like to make more friends, so he begins exploring the Solar System—playing tag on Puck, space-walking Triton to watch nitrogen geysers, and getting lost in the markets of Pluto. He realizes there is an entire universe of aliens and planets at his fingertips.

But one day the Choppies, floating orb robots, show up. They don’t understand how to play nicely. They get rough. And they crack the glass of an adventure vehicle on Mars, putting Kiki’s new friend Grawfur in danger.

Making science and planets fun, 
Kiki Finds Friends explores friendship, bullying and social behavior. A space adventure you can’t ignore.


Space is a big adventure, especially for Kiki as he explores not only the universe around him but something called 'friends'.

Kiki enjoys life with his adoptive father, Frank, on the spaceship. Where else would biking around the rings of Saturn be a true possibility...although maybe a bit dangerous. Frank keeps him busy with all sorts of fun activities. One day, Kiki realizes there are others out there to meet and play with, which sounds great until he runs into a bunch of aliens, who are anything but nice. Suddenly, exploring the universe takes on an entirely new adventure.

Kiki is a fun alien has an unique flair, which makes him hard not to like. Unlike other aliens often found in kidlit, Kiki is very much a kid. He builds pillow forts, constructs all sorts of things with building blocks, and loves to explore. His attitude is cute, refreshing, and addicting. Frank is the perfect family at Kiki's side as he offers support, care, security, advice, and kindness. It's an inspiring relationship, which will resonate wonderfully with young readers. It also sets a firm basis for the rest of the tale.

The main message swings around forming friendships and dealing with bullies and other, sometimes difficult, social moments, and all of these stay right in the range of those type of situations, which readers might find themselves facing...just in space...which really keeps the atmosphere more fun and light. So, while there is a distinct message, it's an enjoyable read with quite a bit of silliness and adventure on the side.

This edition is written in German and English...yay! The translation is very well done and deserves kudos (that's not always the case). It is geared for the younger, middle grade end or more advanced, chapter book readers. I did find the formatting a bit difficult for this younger group, but it works as a great read-aloud for them. There's always something happening, propelling the story forward. Sometimes, there's a bit too much too quick, but for a read-aloud, this will also work well.

Then, there are the illustrations. I'm always a fan of illustrations, and these add just the right atmosphere at the right times. Space readers...especially those who are learning the two languages or are already bi-lingual, will enjoy visiting the stars with this one.

And here they are...

Marty and Amie live in Germany, though they were both born in the USA. They love exploring the mountains, in summer and winter, and spend all of their free time reading. One summer they had the idea to write a book together. Marty imagined the characters and what happened, and Amie filled in the holes.

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