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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Jane the Astronaut: The Mystery of the Alien Dragons, written by Dianne Bateman and illustrated by Remesh Ram, is a children's science fiction/fantasy chapter book that follows a teen girl embarking on the adventure of her dreams. Jane comes home thrilled that she's won a science contest with a prize that is right up her alley as someone who wants to be a botanist and astronaut: a visit to the International Space Station. Jane's brother isn't impressed and questions her abilities based on gender, but Jane gets through the weeks of training and ultimately makes it on board. As she learns her job as an apprentice and begins to explore the station, she finds a small wooden door that opens up into another dimension....one with friendly little space dragons.
Dianne Bateman does well in weaving several themes through Jane the Astronaut as she tackles archaic social constructs about gender, women in STEM, the rewards for hard work that's done enthusiastically, and even questions surrounding mental and physical health and trust. When Jane shares what she finds, people who do not know her well enough to believe her think she's joking and her commander worries about her sanity. Her attachment to her newfound friends is wonderful to watch unfold while being equally heartbreaking as we know she will eventually have to leave them forever. The illustrations by Ramesh Ram are well done, in full color, and really bring the story to life. Recommended.