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Astronaut Handbook

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  366 ratings  ·  73 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 Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  366 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Aug 10, 2008 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
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Youngsters Who Dream of Walking on the Moon, or Exploring the Stars
A simple but informative text, and cartoon-like acrylic illustrations are paired to great effect in Meghan McCarthy's Astronaut Handbook, which offers a fun, fact-filled look at a common childhood dream: traveling to outer space! For the young reader who had wondered what qualifications they need, to become an astronaut (study hard, children, and learn to be a team player!), or what the training process involves (space food! the "Vomit Comet!"), this title will fill them in, allowing them to fol ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: children interested in becoming astronauts or going into any field that requires preparation
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) 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 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 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 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. ...more
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
Meghan Hunt
May 25, 2016 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. ...more
This was a fun and informative read on what you need to do to become an astronaut and what you do as an astronaut. The illustrations are cute, appealing to young readers. Among other things, you see how astronauts sleep in sleeping bags that are strapped down, what the toilet in the bathroom looks like with labels for the different parts necessary for outer space/zero gravity use, and learn why zero gravity is the reason for why astronauts have to exercise everyday. It's a great handbook to get ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My 3yo asks ALL the questions when we read — and this is the first book we’ve encountered that answers all her questions moments after she asks them.

One of her questions (a common one) was, “For real or pretend?” which here means “Non-fiction or fiction?” The fact that this is full of real information and completely accessible makes it a fast new favorite at our house.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a fantastic picture book for kids interested in space. I got it form the library but it is on my purchase list to have in my classroom. It goes through the training for being and astronaut and what life would be like, including a space toilet. Kids love the space toilet!
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This is cute and has some information, but I'm not sure that it would work as a whole-school book for Reading Week. Also it's dated ... there's no more Space Shuttle program, but there IS a urine recycling system! I would love it if McCarthy wrote an updated edition. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: byl-crate
This book is so cute! I love how the information is presented and, despite it aimed at younger children, I definitely learned a few new things myself. :)

It arrived as part of our Books in Space! BYL Family Reading Crate.
A great way to learn about what it takes to be an astronaut!
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
My second graders enjoyed this story. A fun way to learn information about what it takes to be an astronaut.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably too long for ST but I love it!
David Morales
Great cute book for kids. Introduces a possibly not-so-exciting topic to kids in an exciting way. Funny pictures and a quaint storyline keep this book short and sweet.
Miss Sarah
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
An elementary and up picture book about steps one can take to become and astronaut. Cute illustartions.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Timely. Fun. I'm so glad it was on my shelves. ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun but boy am I old. It’s got a lot about the space shuttle and nothing about Space X. The illustrations are cosy and the ambition is real.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3rd-space
Great walk through of steps to prepare for space.
Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
This is a fun picture book read about some of what it takes to become an actual astronaut!

This is perfect for kids who want to be an astronaut when they grow up!
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-book
It was fun and we really enjoyed the fascinating facts at the end of the book. It was also cool to learn about the toilets on a spaceship.
Amanda Watson
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Astronaut Handbook" is a nonfiction book for children ages 3-7. This book provides concise, informative, factual information on what needs to be done to become an astronaut. It discusses the required training, character traits, living situation, different types of astronauts and fun facts about being an astronaut. I rated this book five stars because I think this is a great nonfiction picture book for children interested in becoming astronauts or learning about astronauts, to read. I think that ...more
Ms. Tyler
Mar 28, 2015 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
Jun 22, 2012 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
Jan 06, 2012 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
Aug 12, 2008 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
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
Feb 21, 2014 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
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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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