Friday, October 27, 2017

Rufus Blasts Off! by Kim T. Griswell and Valeri Gorbachev

Rufus is a very adventurous pig. He's gone to school and he's sailed with pirates. He has a treasure chest full of his very favorite treasure: books! And, now the pirates want more stories. Rufus has an idea. He'll go to space! Surely there will be plenty of stories to tell about space. He packs up and rows away from the pirate ship, waving goodbye to his pirate friends, then trudges toward the space center on shore.

A guard takes Rufus up in an elevator, where a rocket ship is waiting to take off for Mars. But, the commander says pigs are not allowed in space and lists all kinds of silly reason why pigs can't go to space:

"Because pigs draw smiley faces on the portholes," said Commander Luna. 
"They do loop-the-loops in the crew cabin."
"They hog the juice packets."
"And they always want to push the buttons."

Rufus is disappointed but not discouraged. He knows what he needs. A space suit! He goes out and buys a space suit (and even poses for a selfie with a tourist when he puts it on). But, Commander Luna is unimpressed. Again, she tells him he doesn't have the "right stuff" and reminds him that pigs are nuisances with a second list of silly things that pigs do.

Rufus has a third idea. He makes a flag that says, "I love reading!" and returns to the rocket ship. Commander Luna says it's no use. The mission has been scrubbed because one of the passengers was going to read from Mars but she has a cold. "I can read!" Rufus says. The commander realizes Rufus has the right stuff, after all.

The spaceship takes off, loads up supplies at the space station, and they set off on a long journey. It takes months. Rufus keeps asking, "Are we there yet?" and then finally settles down for a long nap. Eventually, they arrive. Rufus does loop-the-loops from the space ship to the planet. He goes six-wheeling. He has a great time on Mars. And, then he reads and the reading is broadcast on Earth, where children and pirates eagerly watch. Because it's good to share books with friends and Rufus loves reading most of all.

Recommended - When I first read Rufus Blasts Off! I admit I was a little disappointed. The story was, I thought, a bit wobbly. But, I loved Rufus's determination and love of reading. The second time I read it, I wondered what I was thinking the first time. I absolutely loved it. Maybe I had a preconceived notion of what a pig in space book should be like; I always have my own stories brewing in my head, after all, and it's been 4 years since I read Rufus Goes to School.

Rufus Blasts Off! is the third Rufus book. I actually missed the one with the pirates, although I remember I loved Rufus Goes to School (link to my review, at left) and, now that I've looked at my review, I see the listing of things pigs do that are a nuisance is a hallmark of this series. Well, I think it's adorable. I've noticed recently that I've read and reviewed quite a few books illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev and always appreciate his illustrations. The same is true of this latest Rufus book. Rufus is adorable. As in the first book, I noticed the artist does a great job of portraying action (several images of Rufus in one illustration show him doing loop-the-loops, for example). While I haven't read the second book in the series, I imagine it's much the same and youngsters will probably especially appreciate owning all three so they can read about all the ridiculous barriers that are placed in front of innocent piglets and how determination gets Rufus past them. Because that's what they're really about: determination and love of reading.

This is my last picture book for Children's Week. Wow, did I have a stack! I have two middle readers that I'll save for next week. Next up will be a Fiona Friday photo, in a couple hours. Hope everyone enjoyed the children's book reviews. I'll have links to all of them in my Monday Malarkey post, for convenience. Happy Weekend!

©2017 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

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