Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, illustrated by Susanna Chapman. MIT Kids Press, 2021. 9781536215618
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Ada and her single mom are headed to Maine for a visit with her grandparents, who live on an island. Living in NYC, Ada doesn’t have a good view of the night sky and she’s wild to see the stars clearly. Over the course of a busy day with her Poobah and Ama, she sees an osprey and shells, observes the tide, and builds a fairy house, always asking when it will be dark. Then, that darn Maine fog rolls in and impatient Ada has to be satisfied with a book of Hubble photos and asking questions about how far and who lives there and can we go? At last the sky clears and she’s treated to a glowing Milky Way. The watercolor illustrations are charming, cozy, and colorful: loose, but filled with recognizable objects, like a stretching cat, Poobah’s kayak, and Ada’s intriguing assortment of beach finds. The endpapers feature delicate close-ups of the small treasures gleaned during beachcombing. I loved Ada, whose mix of deep interest and bored antics made her seem like a very real 1st or 2nd grader, and the book definitely captures the loving connection between the generations. Lightman is a professor of humanities at MIT and was inspired to write the book by his own granddaughter’s visits to Maine.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a strong title for those looking for books about grandparents and grandkids. The space information is lyrical and provides some facts, but for me the book was best at celebrating that special relationship. Children ages 4-8 would appreciate this story, although the illustrations are detailed and I think it would work best one-on-one or in small groups.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: September 20, 2021