Meet the Planetsby John McGranaghan, Laurie Allen Klein
Soar into the Solar System to witness the first Favorite Planet Competition, emceed by none other than the former-ninth planet, now known as dwarf planet Pluto. The readers become the judges after the sun can't pick a favorite and the meteors leave for a shower. Who will the lucky winning planet be? Could it be speedy-messenger Mercury, light-on-his-feet Saturn, or smoking-hot Venus? Readers learn all about each planet as Pluto announces them with short, tongue-in-cheek facts. Children will spend hours searching the art for all the references to famous scientists and people of history, space technology, constellations, art, and classic literature.
Meet the Author
John McGranaghan has always been fascinated by outer space and he shares that fascination in a humorous but educational way through Meet the Planets and Saturn for My Birthday. John has also written stories and articles for Boys’ Quest Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Columbia Magazine, and local newspapers. He is winner of the 2001 Pockets Fiction Contest. When John isn’t writing, he enjoys sports and spending time with his wife and two boys. John is a school counselor in the Philadelphia suburbs.
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The planets line up - all eight of them (remember #9 was disqualified just a few short years ago). They are in a contest much like a beauty contest. The aim is to choose the best planet. Well, we Earthlings obviously think planet Earth is best don't we? The author and illustrator have both packed a lot of information into this cute book giving us facts about each planet, history of astrology as it pertains to the planet being featured, etc. The storyline is cute and engaging. The back of the book is has six pages packed with information that will engage the mind of an inquisitive kid - or adult. Lots of good stuff here for the home or school library shelf. DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Meet the Planets from Abordale Publishing for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review. Giveaway copy will be provided by publisher directly to the winner.
Can you tell how many planets there are in our solar system? Pluto is the emcee for the Favorite Planet Competition. There are eight contestants. The warmer and solid inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The colder and gaseous outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. As each planet is introduced, various facts about it are given. For example, all the planets except earth are named for Roman or Greek gods. Which one will win the contest? Even though Pluto has been decommissioned as a planet, it is nice to see it at least get mentioned. Since space is the final frontier, children always enjoy reading and hearing about various heavenly bodies like the planets of our solar system. In addition to the text itself, there are six pages of "For Creative Minds" activities, such as how to incorporate math and science skills into learning about the solar system, information about planet times and temperatures, a place-value activity about distance from the sun, finding art references in the book, solar system true or false questions, and a solar system matching activity. And there are additional free teaching activities and interactive quizzes online at the publisher's website for use at home or at school. I have always been fascinated with studying about outer space, and I wish that this book had been available when I was in school.
Pluto stepped in to become the host of the Favorite Planet Competition and, list in hand, was prepared to tell everyone about our "Solar System inside the beautiful Milky Way Galaxy." The Milky Way swirled in the skies above Stonehenge as he glanced at the crowd and smiled. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune "have been around for billions of years," and the competition was stiff. Pluto's list was ready and he began to talk about the inner planets. All four are solid, rocky, and anxious to be considered a favorite. First up was Mercury who is the "fastest moving planet in the Solar System" who circles the sun in a mere 88 days. You may know that he is "covered in craters," but do you know about the god he was named after? Next up in the Favorite Planet Competition to be welcomed by Pluto, was the sizzling hot Venus. She's not only beautiful, but is "often mistaken for a star." Mother Earth and Mars, not to be outdone by a star, were next up in the competition. Mars had a lovely "red-face" glow from his "iron-rich soil." He was the last of the inner planets to be presented. The first up of the outer planets was the "massive, gassive Jupiter," who has "a red spot the size of two Earths." Amazing! Saturn, who was not to be forgotten, is "surrounded by a dazzling display of rings." Talk about gorgeous! Slanted Uranus could boast that he "spins on his side." Guess how many years of darkness and sunlight he gets? Last up in the competition is Neptune, a stunning blue planet that has winds that swirl "over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) per hour" on its surface. The facts are out, the planets have strutted their stuff, but who do you think will be named the favorite planet? This is a dazzling, fun way for the young student to learn some basic facts about the planets. The illustrations are vibrant and stunning and along with the presentation of the eight planets in the Favorite Planet Competition are many other interesting "characters" to explore. For example, in the background or "audience," we see illustrations of constellations, space probes, astronomers, and other things like Stonehenge. The older student may enjoy naming these additional figures and their presence could easily lend itself to becoming a stepping stone to a school report. There are an additional six pages of activities in the back of the book, a real plus for the homeschooler or classroom teacher. For example, there is a Solar System "matching activity" that lists some of the facts about the planets and one that contains a set of true or false questions (the answer key is upside down on the same page). Additional cross-curricular activities for parents and educators can be found on the publisher's website. Quill says: This is an exciting, fun way to learn about the Solar System as young students travel with Pluto during a Favorite Planet Competition!