Blast Off to Earth!: A Look at Geography


A group of aliens on a field trip visit each of the continents on Earth and learn about some of their unique features.

A group of aliens on a field trip visit each of the continents on Earth and learn about some of their unique features.

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A group of aliens on a field trip visit each of the continents on Earth and learn about some of their unique features.

A group of aliens on a field trip visit each of the continents on Earth and learn about some of their unique features.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this well-meaning but lackluster attempt to interest kids in geography, Mr. Quark and his class, a gaggle of robotlike aliens, visit the earth in a flying saucer. They get an overview from afar, and then a tour of all the continents as Mr. Quark spews forth a torrent of traditional geograph-facts: ``The climate is hot near the equator''; ``Europe is still crowded with people.'' Mr. Quark, oddly enough, suffers from cultural bias. He notes the right to vote in the U.S., but focuses in contrast on Africa's wildlife or Mexico's ancient ruins, thus reinforcing outdated cliches. Leedy ( Messages in the Mailbox ) effectively places vividly colored, comic-book-style panels against a dark background, and packs them with information and jokes. Unfortunately, children are more likely to remember these humorous asides than the dry data in Mr. Quark's speech balloons--though the goofy extraterrestrials demonstrate an engaging whimsicality. Despite some superficial similarities to Ms. Frizzle's Magic School Bus, Mr. Quark's flying saucer never totally takes off. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- Aliens aboard a spaceship take a field trip to Earth in this simple introduction to geography. As they approach the planet, Mr. Quark tells his pupils about its surface, poles, equator, and continents. In seven double-page spreads, the class visits each of the continents. On the verso of each is a simple physical map; on the recto, some tidbits of information about the peoples and animals who live there are given. The story is almost a simplified ``Magic School Bus'' (Scholastic) adventure. However, it lacks the clever asides and interesting details that are hallmarks of that series. Here, generalizing--especially in the illustrations--sometimes borders on stereotyping, as in the depiction of nationalities. In addition, while North America is shown to have a diverse population, South America is represented only by native peoples. However, the book does provide a clear introduction to planet Earth in an appealing manner. Paired with such books as Tony Bradman's It Came From Outer Space (Dial, 1992), it would also be a good nonfiction addition to a preschool story time. --Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Carolyn Phelan
In a reversal of Cole's "The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System" , here's an alien teacher and his students taking a class trip to Earth: "How long till we get there, Mr. Quark?" "Just a few more nanoseconds." The text consists of Mr. Quark's instructive comments on the planet and each of its continents as well as the offhand, and occasionally off-the-subject, remarks of the space kids. The last page shows the kids' paintings of "OUR TRIP TO EARTH," featuring everything from the pyramids to the Incan ruins, redwood forests to the Great Barrier Reef. The full-color artwork makes good use of black, deep chalky colors, and lighter accents in the double-page spreads, though the pages that are divided into many panels have a crowded look. Simple maps introduce each continent and place it on the globe. An unusually appealing geography primer, this useful, lighthearted picture book provides a new perspective on the home planet.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823409730
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 955,943
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.79 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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