Captain Mama's Surprise takes children on a wonderful adventure on a KC-135 Aerial Refueling Tanker. Mama introduces her son's classmates to the crew and clearly explains to them what the mission is and how it is accomplished. The cast is made of diverse characters, which is refreshing. Also appreciated was the focus on female characters who not only are teachers but also pilots in charge of very important missions in the United States Air Force, thus breaking away from the more standardized gender roles that women have usually had in children's books.
The illustrations add a lot to the book as a whole and help highlight the celebration of diversity that is present in the story, which is also brilliantly told in Spanish. The addition of a glossary (in dual language) and an art project make for unexpected yet welcomed additions.
Review by Brunella Costagliola (April 2019)
In this second book in the Captain Mama series, Marco and his sisters, whose mother is a U.S. Air Force aviator, visit the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker on a field trip with his second grade class. The children and their teachers meet the aircrew and the crew chief, tour the airplane to understand its unique parts and learn what each crew member does as they work together onboard this gas station in the sky. Includes a STEM activity for children to learn basic aircraft terms and structure plus glossaries in Spanish and English of aviation terms in the text. From School Library Journal K-Gr 3—Marco's second grade class goes on an Air Force base field trip. His mom is the navigator on an aerial refueling tanker, and the kids are excited about touring the plane and meeting the crew. In an easygoing first-person narrative, Marco describes the adventure. Everything from the refueling process to the manual landing gear crank is explained to the eager students. The smiling, accommodating crew members outline their responsibilities and the importance of working as a team. Lens's simple but colorful illustrations reinforce the childlike quality of the book. Tiscareño-Sato is a Mexican American military veteran/aviator, and in this continuation of her bilingual series "Captain Mama," the author affords young readers the opportunity to observe a coed, multiethnic crew performing their vital tasks. In addition, the final six pages include an English/Spanish glossary, a list of educational resources and their respective links, and an art/engineering project. VERDICT An accessible and positive portrayal of the mothers and people of color who serve proudly in the military; a good purchase for bilingual collections.—Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ
ISBN/ASIN: 9780997309003, 978-0997309034, 9780997309010, 9780977309027
Book Format(s): Hard cover, Soft cover, Kindle, ePub/iBook
Review Genre: Children & Young Adult—Picture Book
Number of Pages: 42