The Cosmic Adventures of Astrid and Stella
HelloLucky, a stationery company owned by sisters Sabrina and Eunice Moyle, has produced a small line of board books and picture books, distributed through Harry N. Abrams. The Cosmic Adventures of Astrid and Stella is the first of a series of graphic novels for beginning chapter readers. Although it’s a new format for them, their trademark color and cheerfulness can be seen throughout this peppy adventure.
Astrid, a unicorn with a pink mane and purple horn and Stella, a flying squirrel with a fantastic hairdo, are taking off for outer space! If they can get their rocket going. With the help of their robot, Bobo, and despite multiple snack and dance breaks, they manage to blast off into space! Their lighthearted adventures continue onto the planet Caturn, where the inhabitants are threatened by the evil Kittywonkus, and then the beaches of planet Bloop, where they meet a whale in need of some good advice.
The pages are liberally sprinkled with rainbows, stars, and bright colors while the text is positively peppered with exclamation points. They battle Kittywonkus with a hose and the threat of being petted “against the grain” and spend much of their time on Caturn cuddling the kitties. On their way to new adventures, they see what appears to be a parade of giant balloon-like space creatures and join them, finding themselves at the beaches on Bloop, a planet that looks like a giant striped beach ball. The two main characters bounce exuberantly through the story, dealing with frustrations and setback with humor and plenty of snacks and dance breaks.
At just over 100 pages and with the silly story and child-like characters, this is aimed at a young demographic, those ready to move from early readers to chapter books. However, it’s actually a fairly complex book to read. The narrative throws a lot of unexpected changes at the reader, as part of the silly, surreal feel of the story and the art is crowded with a wealth of shapes, colors, and odd characters. Readers who are still focusing on the mechanics of reading are likely to find this frustrating. However, those who are already fluent but prefer shorter, illustration-heavy stories and readers who want a quick, comforting and funny story, will enjoy this wacky adventure.
Libraries building their beginning graphic novel collections should consider this if they are looking for more silly stories for younger readers or have the budget to fill in with additional titles, having purchased core works like the Branches and Acorn series.
The Cosmic Adventures of Astrid and Stella Vol. 1
By Sabrina Moyle
Art by Eunice Moyle
Abrams Amulet, 2022
NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)