Greetings From Planet Earth

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Overview


The unforgettable debut novel from the award-winning author of THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS and WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE?

If you had one minute to describe life on Earth, what would you say? It's 1977, and Theo and his class are creating a golden record inspired by the one Voyager 2 will carry into space as a greeting from Earth. But as Theo searches for an original answer to his teacher's question, other questions begin to surface: What happened to his father in Vietnam? ...

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New York, NY 2010 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 247 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview


The unforgettable debut novel from the award-winning author of THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS and WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE?

If you had one minute to describe life on Earth, what would you say? It's 1977, and Theo and his class are creating a golden record inspired by the one Voyager 2 will carry into space as a greeting from Earth. But as Theo searches for an original answer to his teacher's question, other questions begin to surface: What happened to his father in Vietnam? And why has his mother been keeping secrets all these years?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meagan Albright
This challenging, touching, and complex novel tests the concepts of love, betrayal, friendship, and family in the aftermath of war. Though it is set after Vietnam, it is especially appropriate for today's youth, many of whom are facing fractured families and the effects of war on the individual members of a family and the family as a unit. This story brings both laughter and tears and pulls the reader irresistibly into the world of a young boy and his family, all struggling to come to terms with their father who is missing after the Vietnam War. Veering from the everyday hilarity and adventures of an eleven-year-old boy (think pizza cravings and farting dogs), to the poignant and unique moments in Theo's life, this story is highly recommended. Told in a layered format through the voice of Theo, who is just beginning to question the loss of his father 5 years earlier, this compelling novel by Barbara Kerley would be a welcome addition to any library collection.
Kirkus Reviews
The upcoming Voyager 2 space probe sparks 12-year-old Theo's discoveries about life on earth in 1977. His teacher, Mr. Meyer, decides that the class should put together a golden record for the Voyager to share with any aliens encountered. Each kid in the class has to contribute the sounds of what they consider the best thing on earth. Theo's close family consists of a busy mother, his older sister Janet and grandmother JeeBee, who lives nearby in their Virginia suburb. The absence of his father begins to ache like a sore tooth, and Theo's exploration of his world, as he tries to figure out his contribution, gradually discovers inconsistencies and strange messages that he's never really put into a logical sequence before. Finding letters from Vietnam written by his dad years earlier, Theo proves capable of probes that will lead him to the truth. Kerley's structure is in alternating transcripts of a recording for an unknown reader, and a third-person account of Theo's life with various sections labeled with geographic place names from the moon. The space capsule assignment reveals much about earthlings, and Mr. Meyer's insightful questioning brings a depth and universality to what is essentially one family's struggle with the past. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439802048
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Barbara Kerley's award-winning biographies—including WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALICE? and THE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN (ACCORDING TO SUSY), both illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, and THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS and WALT WHITMAN: WORDS FOR AMERICA, both illustrated by Brian Selznick—are consistently praised for their lively prose, meticulous research, and artistic presentation style. Kerley lives in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her online at www.barbarakerley.com.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

    If you had one minute of sound and one picture to describe the very best thing about being a human on Earth, what would you do? That's Theo's assignment, and he has two weeks to figure it out. <BR/><BR/>It's 1977 and the Voyager Probes are due to launch soon. They will be the most extensive space exploration mission yet. Aboard one of the probes is a golden record, full of sounds from earth, that will be broadcast into space, intended as a greeting toward alien life. <BR/><BR/>At first Theo thinks the assignment will be simple. The more he thinks about it, the harder it becomes. He has some great ideas, but nothing seems quite good enough. How do you describe the very best thing about humans in one minute? Should it be something we've created? Should it avoid mention of anything bad? Who are we? <BR/><BR/>One question leads to the next, and the biggest ones start to come from outside of school. Who is Theo's father, really? What happened to him in Vietnam? Why can't they talk about him? Does keeping a secret hurt someone or protect them? <BR/><BR/>This is a story about much more than just space exploration, although I did learn quite a bit more about that than I ever did in a class. This is a story about exploring you family and yourself. It's about asking hard questions, even when you're not sure you want to know the answer. It's also about forgiveness and strength and understanding. All of these are ideas that transcend time, making GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH a great book to have now or ten years from now, and just as good for adults as it is for kids.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    If you had one minute of sound and one picture to describe the very best thing about being a human on Earth, what would you do? That's Theo's assignment, and he has two weeks to figure it out. It's 1977 and the Voyager Probes are due to launch soon. They will be the most extensive space exploration mission yet. Aboard one of the probes is a golden record, full of sounds from earth, that will be broadcast into space, intended as a greeting toward alien life. At first Theo thinks the assignment will be simple. The more he thinks about it, the harder it becomes. He has some great ideas, but nothing seems quite good enough. How do you describe the very best thing about humans in one minute? Should it be something we've created? Should it avoid mention of anything bad? Who are we? One question leads to the next, and the biggest ones start to come from outside of school. Who is Theo's father, really? What happened to him in Vietnam? Why can't they talk about him? Does keeping a secret hurt someone or protect them? This is a story about much more than just space exploration, although I did learn quite a bit more about that than I ever did in a class. This is a story about exploring you family and yourself. It's about asking hard questions, even when you're not sure you want to know the answer. It's also about forgiveness and strength and understanding. All of these are ideas that transcend time, making GREETINGS FROM PLANET EARTH a great book to have now or ten years from now, and just as good for adults as it is for kids. **Reviewed by: Carrie Spellman

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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