To Burp or Not to Burp by Dr. Dave Williams

To Burp or Not to Burp by Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti

Publisher: Annick Press

Publication Date: October 11, 2016

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Publisher's description

Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is “How do you go to the toilet in space?”

This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body:

How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA astronaut who speaks from first-hand experience. Written for kids ages 7 to 10, this book uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful pages, short blocks of text accompanied by photos and humorous illustrations make this a very attractive choice for young readers. The opening message from Dr. Dave empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams.

My review (first shared on April 21, 2017):

I won a free copy from the blog Chaos is a Friend of Mine.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the space program always fascinated me. Unlike so many other kids, I didn’t really want to be an astronaut when I grew up. But space and space shuttles and astronauts were still very exciting. I watched almost every time the space shuttle took off and landed. I cheered when Sally Ride broke the gender barrier (at least in America - the first female in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova 20 years earlier in 1963). I mourned when the Challenger tragedy occurred.

I had an aunt who lived in Houston, TX so I got to visit Johnson Space Center several times. The things that always fascinated me more than anything else were the day-to-day requirements of living in microgravity on a shuttle or space station. I LOVED freeze-dried ice cream and Tang and any of the exhibits that showed how astronauts slept or exercised or ate. Those exhibits and that information were always “tidy” for the public eye though. None of it really got into the nitty-gritty of how an astronaut (or cosmonaut or taikonaut on the International Space Station ISS now) really went about their day. Dr. Dafydd “Dave” Williams has opened all those doors in this book.

Dr. Dave is a retired Canadian astronaut who was part of an assembly mission on the Space Shuttle Endeavor to the ISS in 2007 (he had one previous shuttle mission as well in 1998). Dr. Dave goes into ALL the nitty-gritty of life in space: sleeping, exercising, eating, going to the bathroom, burping, farting, and more. Spoiler: farts will not jet propel a human in space. Sorry. My daughter thought the book was hilarious and fascinating. It is definitely fun learning. And as someone who really misses the excitement and national unity the space program brought, I really enjoyed reliving my own youthful “space exploration” by learning new things. If you ever loved the space program or if your kids are in love with it now, I really recommend this book! Fun illustrations and humorous explanations would make it interesting even to someone who isn’t as interested in space.

Miss R's review (she was 9 years old when she wrote this):

It was a good book... kind of disgusting at times. it really makes me feel like I totally need to be an astronaut (I'm being sarcastic). I liked the parts where they taught you how to pee and poop and eat in microgravity - mostly the eating. It looked funny in the pictures they had. I imagine being out in space and walking and immediately floating to the top. I recommend it to kids who want to be astronauts and kids who don't get grossed out by lots of things because this book is pretty disgusting. It is funny though!