scienceBACKGROUND (From Hachette Book Group)

Everyone has heard the names Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but what about Michael Collins–the third brave Apollo 11 astronaut who didn’t get to walk on the moon? Many of the most relevant figures in scientific history have remained in the shadows, but not any longer! From Alan Katz’s new Awesome Achievers series, Awesome Achievers in Science gives kids a look behind the scenes at 12 lesser-known scientists whose contributions are personally relevant to their lives today. Each figure is given a traditional biography but is also subject to Katz’s unique brand of silliness, with humorous elements such as imagined poems, song lyrics, and diary entries by or about the not-so-famous figure accompanying each bio.

Spot illustrations throughout add to the lighthearted and appreciative humor each figure receives. Reluctant readers and budding scientists alike will delight in this imaginative and engaging continuation of a new series of laugh-out-loud biographies.

MY TAKE: I previously featured AWESOME ACHIEVERS IN TECHNOLOGY, and the series continues with this look at achievers in science. The same fun format begins with 2-3 pages about the person. The astronaut names might be familiar to middle grade readers but not so much for the other scientists.

I found their stories of invention even more compelling. Here’s a lineup of their impressive creations: The Heimlich Maneuver, the Laserphaco Probe (for cataract removal), Velcro, CPR, Anti-Reflective Glass, Polaroid Land Camera (Surprise—they still sell these cameras!), Kevlar, Sticky Notes, and Bionic Robotic Limbs.

Following each write-up is a lighthearted few pages courtesy of author Alan Katz’s trademark humor. Silly poems, reminisces, and cartoon style panels adds a few laughs for the targeted audience (along with some of us older readers).

Put this one on the nightstand or tuck into a child’s backpack. Each person’s section can be read in five minutes or so, making it a perfect companion.

About the Author: Alan Katz is the author of many highly acclaimed children’s books, including Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs, Don’t Say That Word! OOPS!, Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking, and The Day the Mustache Took Over and its sequel, The Day the Mustache Came Back. Alan is also a six-time Emmy-nominated writer for TV series including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, animated series Taz-Mania, Disney’s Raw Toonage and Goof Troop, the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards, and many network specials and game shows. he has also created comic books, trading card sets, web videos, TV commercials and hundreds of other special projects for kids and parents. He lives with his family in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Alan can also be found at


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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I like that this book can be read in smaller “chunks” to make it more accessible for any reader. This is one I need to find for myself too. Thanks for highlighting this book today.

  2. I knew about Michael Collins. This is an intriguing book and one that is easily read with its facts and short chapters. Great pick!

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