[Book Review] Barbie: Shooting for the Stars by Karen Stillman and Victoria Saxon

First-time astronauts Barbie and Kira soar into space on a very important mission. Everything goes smoothly until Kira takes her first walk outside the shuttle. Then it’s up to Barbie and the rest of the crew to stay calm and think on their feet–the success of their mission depends on it!

Barbie has a long history with space. From 1965’s “Barbie Miss Astronaut” to 2013’s “Mars Explorer Barbie”, America’s favorite fashion doll has been in the space program for just shy of a half-century. So it’s no surprise that at least one of the accompanying Barbie picture books would cast its iconic blonde as an astronaut.
In Shooting for the Stars, Barbie is a space shuttle pilot, and her friends Kira and David are the mission specialist and mission commander, respectively. And while I can’t vouch for how accurate the characters’ experiences are in the story, I think it does a great job covering the basics of an astronaut’s job.

It’s also a wonderfully representative story. In addition to Barbie playing a female astronaut and space shuttle pilot, supporting characters include men, women, White Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans as astronauts of varying importance to the plot. (Barbie’s direct coworkers, Kira and David, are Asian American and African American, respectively; their boss, Dr. Foster, is an African American woman.)

Personally, I think it’s great story–hell, a great way to bring your sons or daughters into the “every kid wants to be an astronaut when they grow up” cliche. Even if some of the details are fudged for the sake of the story, I definitely think using Barbie as a way to get children thinking about space as an equal-opportunity field is an excellent idea.

Highly recommended for young fans of Barbie (whose parents can track down a copy of this fairly obscure book).

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