Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotSaturn is the farthest planet from the Earth that can be seen without a telescope. However, scientists could not see Saturn’s rings until telescopes were invented. Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest. “If Earth were the size of a gumball, Saturn would be as big as a soccer ball.” Interestingly, it is the least dense planet in the solar system (Earth is the densest planet). Due to its elliptical orbit the distance to Saturn from Earth varies by more than a quarter million miles. It has very long yearsthe time to circle the sunand very short daysthe time it rotates on its axis. Like the other outer plants, Saturn is a gas giant. One fact that may amaze readers is learning that Saturn’s core is hotter than the Sun’s surface and that Saturn releases twice as much heat into space as it receives from the sun. Saturn has rings and moons. The rings are almost as wide as the distance between Earth and its moon. Ancient astronomers such as Galileo, Cassini and Huygens are introduced and their names have been associated with missions to Saturn and space. Many more missions are planned. The answer to the question posed at the beginning of the book follows the “True Statistics” section and even the back cover contains some interesting information. The book’s generous full color photographs and illustrations help easily explain the facts. The books in this “New True Books: Space” series about the planets and Earth’s moon offer an enticing format. The first page challenges readers to find out which of two statements is true. There is an arrow that contains the text: “Find the answers in this book.” To help young readers appreciate the format of more substantial books for older readers, this one contains a content spread that lists each chapter heading followed by an intriguing question. There are also references to the back matter containing true statistics, resources, important words, an index and a brief blurb about the author. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot; Ages 8 to 10.
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