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Astronaut Handbook

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  220 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
DO YOU HAVE what it takes to be an astronaut? Meghan McCarthy blasts readers off to astronaut school in her new, young, nonfiction picture book. Take a ride on the “Vomit Comet” and learn how it feels to be weightless. Have your measurements taken—100 to be exact—for your very own space suit. Meghan McCarthy has created the perfect book to share with children who want to b ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 10th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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The Jupiter Chronicles by Leonardo RamirezMoonshot by Brian FlocaAstronaut Handbook by Meghan MccarthyIf You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNultyI Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton
Best Space Books For Kids
3rd out of 41 books — 66 voters
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollDinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope OsbornePippi Longstocking by Astrid LindgrenPart-time Princess by Deborah UnderwoodThe Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker
Books for Kick-Ass Little Girls
15th out of 28 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 493)
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Aug 10, 2008 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Back up! Back up swiftly now, because I don't know how much longer I can hold her in. She's coming out, I can feel it. Yes... YES... It's the return of Curmudgeonly Old Lady and there's nothing I can do to stop her tirades! Flee for your very life!

Why when I was a mere wisp of a girl of four or five do you know whom every girl my age wanted to be? No, not Mary Lou Retton (though that would be a strong guess). It was Sally Ride. Every child my age knew exactly who Sally Ride was. First American w
Lisa Vegan
Nov 20, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children interested in becoming astronauts or going into any field that requires preparation
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I wasn’t in a good mood to read it and it’s been years since I was extremely intrigued by space travel, but this is a terrific non-fiction book about the subject. When I was young, I did enjoy the freeze dried blocks of Neapolitan ice cream, designed for space travel, and a bar of that makes its appearance in this book. I would also like to ride the vomit comet, also mentioned here, but only after heavily medicating with ginger or other travel sic ...more
Nov 10, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in what it takes to be an astronaut
Loved this one! It is all about "you" as the reader and it provides information about what you will need to learn, experience and do in order to become an astronaut, things you'll need to study, personality traits to cultivate, etc. So, it's more informative than bossy. The illustrations aren't the best I've ever seen, but they are FUN and some are very descriptive. I think many children will be especially intrigued by the illustration of the spaceship bathroom where everything is labeled (and, ...more
Nov 25, 2010 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn
How cool is this book! It made me want to become and astronaut!
The book covers the basics of what it takes to become an astronaut, the types of astronauts there are, the training required, and then tidbits of what it's like in space, with a page devoted the parts of the spacesuit, and a page devoted to the workings of the space toilet. The illustrations are not totally my style, but they work, and certainly make space life look exciting. There's more information in the back matter, and suggestio
Jun 01, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
I'm digging Meghan McCarthy's take on nonfiction. Her pictures are fun, the text is straightforward and accurate, and she gets what appeals to kids. I especially appreciate that her astronauts are diverse. She includes a detailed picture of a space potty, which I'm sure that 2nd and 3rd graders will love inspecting.
Meghan Hunt
May 25, 2016 Meghan Hunt rated it really liked it
This is an informative and fun book with eye catching illustrations. I'm thinking of incorporating it into an elementary aged astronaut training camp program at my library.
Traci Bold
Jun 03, 2015 Traci Bold rated it it was amazing
Astronauts have a defined career path; one that is hard to achieve, takes great skill in being alone, living in tight spaces, eating freeze dried foods and being exceptionally good at math and science. Men and women can be astronauts.

Meghan McCarthy takes you through what it takes to be an astronaut in this fun-filled handbook, 'ASTRONAUT HANDOOBK' a fantastic non-fiction picture book published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Her illustrations entice the imagination to add details which reading this book adv
May 09, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
McCarthy, M. (2008). Astronaut handbook. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Citation by: Sarah Tyler

Type of Reference: Handbook

Call Number: 629.45 M1232a 2008

Content/Scope: This concise handbook introduces students to the career of an astronaut, from astronaut school to landing on the moon. It explains different aspects of required training, such as swimming while wearing the flight suit and sneakers, and desired character traits, such as being a team player.

Accuracy/Authority/Bias: McCarthy includes a b
Mar 31, 2014 Romelle rated it it was amazing
A nonfiction book disguised as a picture book. I love the fun, bold illustrations. Meghan McCarthy's clever title, paired with her bubble-eyed characters in spacesuits, makes this book appealing. Astronaut Handbook gives readers an insight on what it takes to become an astronaut. Told in second person point-of-view, this book makes a fun and fascinating read. You'll forget you're reading a nonfiction. It's a great example of creative nonfiction.

The back of the book lists fascinating facts about
Feb 21, 2014 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, blog
Great book for any budding astronauts out there. The book is written as an introduction to the reader to astronaut school. it then goes on to describe what you need to know to be an astronaut from the different types of jobs, to needing to study and be fit. It goes through the training such as physical, survival and equipment and then what to expect once in space. The book gives a lot of great information but in a very concise and easy to read format. Is easy enough to read for young readers but ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
I thought that Astronaut Handbook was a nice, interesting, concise description of what astronauts must do in order to, well, become astronauts. I liked that it wasn't all about how cool it is to be an astronaut, but it stressed that it's a job that comes with a lot of hard work, a lot of training, and a lot of business that may not always be so pleasant. And yet, the book still managed to make this look like a pretty cool thing to be when one grows up!

My niece and nephew both seemed to be intere
Jun 22, 2012 Nina added it
Name: Kristina Jewell

Title: McCarthy, M. (2008). Astronaut handbook. United States of America: Alfred A. Knopf.

Call Number: 629.45

Reference Type: Handbook

Description: This handbook for students in grades k-3 relies on visuals to deliver information about astronauts. The images are simple, bold and exciting for young readers.

Price: $16.99

Relevance and Relationship: Space science is a highly interesting subject for young students and is often seen on the news and in movies. The 21st century has
Becky B
Do you want to be an astronaut? Do you have what it takes? This book will help future astronauts get an introduction to what it takes to become an astronaut and what will be expected of them. Be sure to read the fun facts in the back which includes where to apply to NASA.

A brief introduction to the requirements, tasks, and living situations of astronauts. Great book for kids who dream of space travel. Could be used in classes when studying astronomy or various careers.
This is a really fun picture book that shares some of the cool thing one must do to become an astronaut. It has an upbeat, "you can do it" vibe and great illustrations (they remind me of Tedd Arnold with the big eyes.) Really fun and loads of gross kid appeal--how do astronauts go to the bathroom in space? What is the "vomit comet"? Excellent back matter and additional resources make this a useful book for a space study, too.
Jul 29, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it
4.25 stars I really love this book. I love the facts, I like the details, I like the little bits of humor. (Like having to Learn Basic Russian..yes.. true if you work in Russia I just thought it was fun! You think knowing Biology, engineering etc is important but basic Russian made me chuckled.

I liked this just as a story.
I liked it as a non-fiction narrative!
I just liked it!!
Thanks for the smile today!
Aug 28, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great piece of nonfiction from Meghan McCarthy, this one is a very simple rendition of the basic training and preparations that a person goes through in order to become an astronaut. This would be a good book to share with a younger audience with an interest in space. Honestly, since children are hugely interested in space, this book wouldn't be a hard sell in your average library. Simple and well-presented nonfiction on the space program in a child-friendly package. Nicely done.
Jul 11, 2016 Meredith rated it it was amazing
Meghan Mccarthy has a lot of nonfiction books for kids, but this one is my favorite. It's cute and informative, and the space toilet page is always a winner. Plus, it's totally a nonfiction book that you can share in storytime, which is great, because it makes me feel like a super educational librarian.
This is a nice overview for children of what it takes to become an astronaut. There isn't a lot of text on most of the pages, but still quite a lot of information is conveyed.

My favorite parts were the pages towards the end that gave some very interesting bits of information - such as a labeled diagram of a space toilet and a space suit. The fascinating facts page at the end really was fascinating.

I had a hard time reading the information on the bibliography page because of the black text on t
Sep 30, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
I'm uncomfortable saying why I only gave this 3 stars...because Meghan is on GoodReads...and I REALLY like her as a person, as an author, and as an artist.

Let's just say this: I'm convinced that she's going to be another Kevin Henkes. She's going to develop a signature style that we're all used to and expect from her...then she's going to WHAM! us with something like "Kitten's First Full Moon." Something unexpected and lovely that makes us all say: "Where did THAT come from?!" And we'll shower h
Mar 07, 2015 Linda rated it really liked it
A very simple, yet very cool book on what it takes to become an astronaut. Lots of skills, education, and fitness. I sure wish I had read this book when I was six years old :)
Robin Rousu
This is what picture book nonfiction should aspire to be. It is short, funny, teaches you something new, and makes you want to learn more. Highly recommended for ages 4-7.
Aug 27, 2014 heather rated it it was amazing
Great book about how to become an astronaut. I love the picture of the space toilet. What a great visual literacy oppty.
*4.5 Stars*

Great, informative book. Young readers will love the references to the Vomit Comet and astronaut food.
May 03, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I read this narrative nonfiction with Kiley tonight. Great nonfiction diagrams for 2nd graders.
KidsNonFiction Teton County Library
This book will help your child prepare for life as an astronaut. Other important lessons are learned along the way. Cooperation, teamwork, staying in school, survival skills, and studying hard are emphasized. The illustrations are funny, and mysteries are solved along the way, including the important answer to the question: "What do space toilets look like?" This is a humorous, inspirational book, whether you actually ever leave the Earth's orbit or not. (Suzy)

This would be a g
Mar 01, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Great beginning book for teaching kids about what astronauts do.
Robin Raines-Bond
Aug 04, 2015 Robin Raines-Bond rated it really liked it
Fun facts about becoming an astronaut. Cute pictures!
Mollie B
Apr 27, 2016 Mollie B rated it really liked it
Informative and entertaining for storytime.
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Starring pop-eyed recruits and friendly second-person narrative, this Cybils 2008-2009 NonFiction Picture Book category finalist dispenses enticing details of space travel training while gently nudging keen readers toward the healthy habits that just might make their dreams come true.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.
Dec 03, 2009 Suzy rated it really liked it

This book will help your child prepare for life as an astronaut. Other important lessons are learned along the way. Cooperation, teamwork, staying in school, survival skills, and studying hard are emphasized. The illustrations are funny, and mysteries are solved along the way, including the important answer to the question: "What do space toilets look like?" This is a humorous, inspirational book, whether you actually ever leave the Earth's orbit or not.
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Children's book author of many wonderful fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, including the below following. Meghan's books have won the IRA-CBC Children's Choice, ALA Notable, Kirkus Reviews Reviewer's Choice, Booklist Best Books, NYPL 100 Best Books, SLJ Best Books, and so on. Blah blah blah, what Meghan really wants to do is drive really fast and jump in really long grass until she g ...more
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