Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ham the Astrochimp, written and illustrated by Richard Hilliard

I read James Vining's graphic novel about Ham, First In Space, earlier this year, and just ate it up. It showed wonderful sensitivity to the feelings of the chimp and to the humans around him.

This book, written for a much younger kid, is a more straightforward account of Ham's life, but it's not lacking in feeling or suspense. Richard Hilliard's paintings of Ham really catch the chimp's gaze, something that was missing from the black and white graphic novel.

Interesting sidebars expand the audience for this book upward into the middle grades. We don't have all that many great non-fiction books about space exploration for younger readers (besides the fabulous If You Decide To Go To The Moon) - this one is a welcome addition.

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