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Friday Fun

April 29, 2011

Meet the PlanetsJust a little fun this Friday, as we feature a new children’s book about the planets that might be just right for the children in your life.  Read the review, enter the contest, and if you’ll leave a comment about your favorite solar system book(s) for children, I will happily make a resource list to share here, at my personal site, and provide as a resource to Teach Mama‘s We Teach community of over 1500 active parents as teachers!

Meet The Planets, by John McGranaghan, is a beautiful way to introduce your kid (or your kid’s classroom) to our solar system!  The style is casual and conversational, with Pluto as the host of a game show-like Favorite Planet Competition.  The illustrations, by Laurie Allen Klein, are intricately detailed and simply gorgeous, with so much more than the planets themselves illustrated — each page also includes depictions of spacecraft visiting the planets and an audience of astronomers, moons, and constellation imagery.  The book is great as an on-your-own exploration or an engaging read-aloud for younger kids.  We’ve had our copy for a few days, and my kindergartner has picked it up to investigate on his own again and again.

A helpful appendix includes six pages of learning activities, teaching science, math, technology, and education (STEM) skills like collecting data, working with time and temperature, comparing the length of a day and a year for the planets, working with large numbers (up to 4.5 billion km, the average distance from the Sun to Neptune), images to explore (from Stonehenge to Cassini), and a true/false quiz based on facts introduced earlier in the book.  The activities are supplemented with additional free activities that anyone can download.

This book is a lot of fun, with beautiful illustrations and a concept that doesn’t leave poor little Pluto out in the cold.  Well, not any colder than he already is! 

Full disclosure: Curt and I reviewed this book for scientific accuracy; we’re credited on the flap, but we received no financial compensation for the work or for this post.  We did receive several copies of the book to use or give away; the author will send an autographed copy of the book to the winner randomly selected from all entries on this post.

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Meet the Planets, just leave a comment below.  For extra entries, “like” Women in Planetary Science on Facebook, and leave another comment telling me that you’ve done so!  I’ll use to select the winner at 5 p.m. next Friday, May 6.  (And yes, if you find a similar contest running on my other site this week, you’re welcome to enter both!)

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Kat Gardner-Vandy permalink
    May 5, 2011 5:07 pm

    This is so fun, Susan! I’d love to be in the drawing and I just ‘liked’ WPS on Facebook. (I’m embarrassed I hadn’t done that already!) My favorite planetary book as a kid was The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, although I cannot vouch for it’s scientific accuracy. I don’t have my copy in hand, but I do know it was copyrighted 1990. Good ol’ Ms. Frizzle! I’m pretty sure my preoccupation with science as a kiddo was partly due to her crazy antics. 🙂

    • June 3, 2011 4:37 am

      Thanks, Kat! You’re the winner! I’ve sent you details privately. Oh, and I love that book – we still read it all the time over here (with kids 4 and 6, the Magic School Bus is always going somewhere!).

      • KatGV permalink
        June 3, 2011 12:33 pm

        Oh my goodness! I am so excited! I can’t wait to read it to my little man. Many thanks!!!

  2. April 30, 2011 9:52 am

    There is a fun series about a dog going to space (who doesn’t like dogs in space!) and checking out Jupiter, Mars and the Moon. Some of my professors from undergrad at CU are authors on this one:

  3. April 29, 2011 7:48 pm

    & I “like”d the Facebook page

  4. April 29, 2011 7:46 pm

    This looks like an awesome book, bright colors & fun pictures for younger kids, extra activities good for all ages – i really like the identifications of all the various elements for the planet pages.

  5. April 29, 2011 6:03 pm

    What a wonderful idea for a book!

  6. April 29, 2011 5:47 pm

    Two great children’s books on the solar system are “Ten Worlds” by Dr. Ken Croswell and “Thirteen Planets,” a National Geographic book by David Aguilar. Croswell’s book includes Pluto and Eris as worlds, presents both sides of the debate about dwarf planets, and tells children, “you decide” their position on the planet definition debate. Aguilar presents information on both classical and dwarf planets. Both have beautiful photos and information on the planets and moons that can be enjoyed by children and adults.

  7. April 29, 2011 11:08 am

    And I have ‘liked’ Women in Planetary Science of FB.

  8. April 29, 2011 11:07 am

    Since you said we can enter both.


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