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Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Nick East

We were lucky enough to win an advance copy of Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Nick East. Published by Puffin, this is the latest in the Goodnight series by Robinson and East with one extra special element to it – it features British astronaut Tim Peake.

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The book follows two boys who are getting ready for bed, they say goodnight to their many space related toys and then head to the window to look up at the stars and say goodnight to their Daddy, an astronaut who is in space. Just before they head to bed they zoom off on their own space adventure with their Dad. Complete with their own spacesuits and shiny red rocket, they arrive at the space station to help with their Dad’s work before venturing out on a space walk surrounded by stars, rockets and planets. After wishing goodnight to the whole universe the two space explorers return home safe and sound to bed. We reviewed another book from this series, Goodnight Pirate, a few weeks ago. I love the magical way that the children in the stories have one last adventure before bed, as though they are setting the scene for a great night of wonderful dreams.

The story is written in rhyme that flows beautifully and with some lovely alliteration; “watch the starlight sparkling bright. Let’s make a wish and say goodnight.” it’s truly a joy to read aloud. The forward of the book is a letter from Tim Peake, he writes that he hopes the book will encourage children to look up to the sky, ask questions and start their own discoveries about the world and the universe. Michelle Robinson has created an exciting story to do just that, it’s sure to develop a sense of curiosity and wonder in children. There is an illustration of the two boys in their red rocket, blasting off into space with the Earth disappearing below them, with the accompanying line: “Just imagine what we’ll find when we leave our world behind.” An absolutely perfect combination of text and illustration to fire up the imagination.

Nick East’s illustrations are fantastic, enchanting and dream-like, he has captured the wonder of the night sky brilliantly. The pages in space are filled with stars, planets, rockets, satellites and meteorites and the boys bedroom is full of exciting space rockets and space toys. My bigger boy loves the picture of the boys bedroom, he can’t look at each toy rocket quickly enough before he spots another one! He likes to pore over them and tell me how much he wants one just like them. I spotted a rocket that looked like it is made from an empty bottle on the boys hanging mobile. So, we decided we would make one.

Bigger boy requested that the rocket needed rocket boosters on each side so we started out with one big empty plastic bottle and two small ones. I thought the best way to decorate them would be by decorating paper and then sticking it around the bottles, he got started on that…

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We were going to use paint but when he remembered about needing to leave paint to dry he changed to felt tips instead as he wanted to be able to play with it straight away! We also had some star shaped sequins to stick on and I cut out more star shapes and moons out of coloured foam and a fabulously shiny piece of silver card that I have saved for these kinds of craft projects.

Here’s the finished work…

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The top of the spaceship needed a good point on it so I cut out a circle of the lovely silver card, snipped halfway across and folded to create a cone that we stuck on the top of the big bottle..

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We wrapped the paper around each of the bottles and stuck them in place with sellotape. Red, orange and yellow sweet wrappers wedged into the tops of the smaller bottles created  the fire blasting out of the boosters. Then with the big bottle the right way up we stuck both smaller bottles, upside down to the sides of the big bottle…

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At this point, I had what I think is possibly the best idea I have ever had, we attached them with velcro so they can detach once the rocket reaches space. Here’s a close up of this amazing feat of engineering (am I a bit too proud of this idea maybe?!)

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And (lying on top of a space themed duvet cover for effect) here’s the finished rocket…

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My bigger boy has been really excited about space since we watched Tim Peake blast off into space. We really wanted him to be able to see the International Space Station so we used an online tracker to find out when it was flying over us. It just so happened that we were right in the middle of dinner when the tracker told us it was visible but we downed forks and headed outside. Sure enough, we saw the International Space Station flying across the sky! We tried to take a photo, this was the best we could do…

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That little blurry spot of light just under the moon, that’s it!

My boy was very excited, we waved to Tim Peake to say hello and then he decided he would try to strike up a conversation so stood on the street shouting, “HELLO TIM PEAKE, WHAT ARE YOU HAVING FOR YOUR DINNER? WE’RE HAVING NOODLES!” Whatever the reply was from Tim we didn’t hear it unfortunately.

Goodnight Spaceman has certainly got my boy excited about space, he loves asking questions and he loves hearing this story. When it arrived we read it at least 5 times in a row as soon as we’d opened the envelope and it’s always a favourite at bedtime of course.

You can find out more about Michelle Robinson on her website which includes a colouring sheet to download of the picture on the cover…

http://michellerobinson.co.uk/

You can see more of Nick East’s work here…

http://www.nickeastillustration.com/index.php

 

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