The Planets

The Planets

by Bill Slavin, Cynthia Pratt Nicolson

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This lavishly illustrated book in the Starting with Space series is an innovative, hands-on approach to learning about the planets.  See more details below


This lavishly illustrated book in the Starting with Space series is an innovative, hands-on approach to learning about the planets.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tina Hudak
Learning about our solar system is manageable and interesting with this addition to the series "Starting with Space." After a general overview, the planets are discussed in detail. Each is introduced with a teaser, which grabs the reader's attention. The chapter on Venus asks, "Have you ever wished upon a star?" Questions are the tool for presenting the most well known information, followed by the "Facts" sections listing more obscure information, including planets' rotation and orbit cycles and the origination of the names. Seven "Try It!" pages offer simple experiments. These facilitate tactile and kinesthetic styles of learning. For example, to duplicate a stormy planetary surface, food coloring is added to a pan of milk. The experimenter lies over a chair and spins the pan to "Watch the swirling bands and pretend you are in a spaceship approaching Jupiter." The illustrations are generous and vary according to the text. NASA photographs of the planet surfaces are included, but representational watercolors, often humorous, are used primarily to highlight facts. There is a one-page glossary and an index. The Planets is a good introduction, especially for those who enjoy visual reinforcement of text.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-Aimed at readers who know a little and want to know a little more, these above-average surveys include simple projects and briefly told myths. Using a question-and-answer format, Nicolson begins her tour of The Planets with Mercury, systematically describing local conditions ("What would it be like to visit...?"), major physical features ("Why does Venus look so bright?"), and basic facts, such as year length and size compared to Earth's. She also offers a page of folktales; anecdotal versions of the story of Galileo, a discussion of the controversial Martian meteorite recently found in Antarctica, and the like; and six low-tech projects, including an edible model solar system made from fruits and seeds. Fleshing out The Stars with more projects, plus myths from India, ancient Greece, and elsewhere, the author covers the differences between stars and other astronomical objects, constellations, black holes, galaxies, and the history of the universe. Both books are illustrated with small, clear watercolors, supplemented by occasional full-color photographs, and end with unusually detailed indexes. Nicolson's claim in Planets that scientists aren't sure whether or not extrasolar planets exist has been rendered moot by recent evidence, but otherwise her facts and speculations are well chosen and accurately expressed. Equally useful for scientific and cultural study, these titles are worthwhile additions to any collection.-John Peters, New York Public Library

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Product Details

Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
Starting with Space Series
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.31(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

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Meet the Author

Bill Slavin is an award-winning children's book illustrator with over 50 books to his credit. His works include Stanley?s Party and The Bear on the Bed. He lives in Millbrook, Ontario.

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