Cover image for Nova's ark
Nova's ark
Kirk, David, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press/Callaway, 1999.
Physical Description:
38 pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 31 cm
Nova, a robot boy from the planet Roton, accidentally rockets himself into space during a class field trip and eventually stumbles across the energy source his planet needs for survival.
Reading Level:
AD 750 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.8 0.5 46720.

Reading Counts RC K-2 5.9 2 Quiz: 16571 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Nova, a robot boy from the planet Roton, accidentally rockets himself into space during a class field trip and eventually stumbles across the energy source his planet needs for survival.

Author Notes

The uncommonly unique imagination of David Kirk has an equally uncommon source. "I found a small copy of The Gnomes' Almanac by a little-known Viennese author Ida Bohtta Morpugo. It was a cutout book simply subtitled: A Book for Children. In it, the pictures and verse about bugs, butterflies, and mice really came to life." That got him drawing and writing. Before that he made children's toys by hand. "I love making stories. The bookmaking process is a liberation for me from the years I toiled to produce handmade items. I think the life of a children's book author is bliss." Kirk lives in upstate New York, with his wife and three daughters.For more information about David Kirk, visit:

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-8. The plot may be rudimentary, but children will barely notice because of the dazzling visual effects and stylish machinery in Kirk's instantly recognizable art. Young Nova the robot goes AWOL from a field trip, crash lands on a distant moon, and amuses himself by building robot animals from the wreckage until his father crashes nearby. Together they discover they've landed on "Zyre, the mythic moon of light," which is made of power crystals that will keep their robot civilization humming along forever; they cobble together a working spacecraft and return home in triumph. Replete with rivets and ball joints, gleaming googly-eyed robots are placed against anachronistically futuristic skyscrapers or desolate moonscapes rendered with photographic realism. Dramatic lighting, varying focus, and artfully placed highlights create not only illusions of great depth of field but also a convincing 3-D look to foreground forms. Spellbound fans of Kirk's Miss Spider series will snatch this up--but make sure that the young nuts-and-bolts crowd also sees Ted Dewan's rendition of The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1998), which features a better balance of art and story line. --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this bittersweet tale of sentient robots, Kirk replaces the lush organic scenery of his Miss Spider series with richly colorful industrial shapes. Nova, a square-headed, swivel-jointed droid, owns the title relic: a fanciful wooden ark containing a set of miniature animals. "A ship like this would never fly, he thought, but in those distant times men traveled this planet on seas of water‘a liquid that had vanished from Roton long ago." While Nova plays with the ark, he wonders how his star-pilot dad is doing on a mission to find needed fuel for planet Roton. Nova's curiosity about his father leads him on an interstellar mission, during which his skills as an inventor (he creates robotic versions of the animals of the ark and converts one of them to a spaceship) help him and his planet survive. Kirk's sharp-contrast images of spacecraft and rocky surfaces glow with Martian red light and lime-green accents, and appear remarkably three-dimensional. The orbiting ship seems to fly out of the book and into readers' space. Nova's animal friends (among them a metallic Miss Spider) help lift the gloomy mood, as do the hero's charming customs of drinking and bathing in motor oil. Yet the dense, unrhymed prose and stark high-tech imagery can't simulate cheer; Nova's universe is impersonal and bleak. Kirk's melancholy tale imparts a mournful message of a bygone Earth, despite a happy ending for the amiable automatons. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-The creator of the popular "Miss Spider" introduces Nova, a futuristic metal boy whose waterless planet of robots depends on energy-generating crystal for survival. Exploring distant space for this resource, his star-pilot father has entrusted his son with a family heirloom, a wooden ark and animals "carved by men before robots ever existed." During a class trip to the Space Center, Nova slips away from the group for a closer look at a spaceship. Soon, he is hurtling through space, and Kirk's story quickly falls apart. Somehow, the boy travels unharmed for months before crash-landing on a rocky moon. He builds a menagerie of animals and a huge "elephant ark" with the remains of his spaceship. Nova's father crashes on the same moon and the boy saves his life with body parts donated by his metal animals. Together, they discover a huge amount of crystal, ride the elephant ark home, and become heroes. This seemingly endless series of far-fetched coincidences and annoyingly artificial events destroy what might have been an enjoyable tale of family devotion. The book jacket notes that Kirk is working on a full-length animated film featuring Nova. Popping off the page in 3-D fashion, the neon- and metallic-colored illustrations seem ready-made for the big screen. Unfortunately, flat characters and a contrived plot make them appear more gimmicky than creative.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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