School Library JournalGr 3-5–This series features a somewhat denser array of information than the previous one (which is for a younger audience), plus more on the asteroid and Kuiper belts (though not the even farther out Oort Cloud). It invites readers to board imagined spacecraft bound for the Sun and each planet, to make observations, and finally to consider whether humans could live in any of those hostile environments. Though the books also include unusual information, such as details on Mercury’s double sunrise, there are signs of carelessness, such as the misleading statement in Earth that “only the dwarf planet Pluto has a larger moon than Earth.” So much territory has been left for Uranus that Sparrow leaves the wild displacement of the planet’s magnetic field as an open question, and provides not even a speculative explanation for the startling news that Neptune’s rings are thicker on one side. Also, although the books feature clear photos, sometimes artists’ conceptions and photos are frequently blended together without distinction.
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