Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PLANETS by Penny Arlon and Tony Gordon-Harris

Arlon, Penny and Tony Gordon-Harris. Planets. New York: Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 978-0545330282. Ages 7 and up.

Scholastic’s “Discover More” line of books comes with a digital companion book, accessible though a link and a code within the printed book. Planets is chock-full of interesting information, dedicating a full-page spread to each planet, with accompanying pictures and facts. The book gives mind-blowing size comparisons (the sun is 105 times the size of Earth!) and fascinating facts about the environments and day/year cycles for each planet.

This would be an excellent book to share with a child who wants to learn more about our solar system, and it would be a great companion book for an elementary school unit on the planets. The book does a very good job at conveying the enormity of the universe, situating the reader first in earth, then in the solar system, then in the Milky Way galaxy, explaining that ours is just one planetary system in the Milky Way, which is just one galaxy among millions.

The pages on what it’s like to have a career in space exploration feature the International Space Station, with pictures showing what life is like for an astronaut, a section showing the details of a space suit, and a Q&A with a member of the European Space Agency.

Overall a fascinating, informative book!

Jill Coste

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