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With the recent Apollo moon landing anniversary much has been written and published celebrating this amazing USA feat. Here are some outstanding picture books to help inform, and perhaps entice, young scientists to venture into this field. All of these books are good for ages four through eight, unless otherwise indicated.
There was an Old Astronaut who Swallowed the Moon, by Lucille Colandro, and illustrated in the bright cartoonish style typical of this “Old Lady” series by Jared Lee, is actually a very informative book for youngsters ages four through eight. Typically, this series is a fun repetitive type book which brings much laughter and glee for kids. The original book is “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly”. However, this book is filled with valuable information that includes planets, meteoroids and satellites. You’ll find more information about space in the back of the book.
Where’s the Astronaut, radiantly illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius, may just ignite the youngest investigators to explore space. This delightful book purposely helps youngsters, ages one through three, to be actively engaged throughout this board book. Each open page scene has a felt shape hiding something behind waiting to be found. The first page shows a rocket ship blasting off with a bright orange flat car on the opposite page. The question posed is Where’s the engineer? You will find her by flipping up the felt car.
Future Astronaut, by Lori Alexander, and vibrantly illustrated by Allison Black, is another board book filled with simple information depicting the necessities of being able to fly into space. Each example shown on the left side of the open page depicting the Astronaut, has baby doing a similar activity on the right side. For instance, on the left side the Astronaut needs to be healthy. On the right side, baby also needs to be healthy.
The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal, by Nick Seluk, is an entertaining and important read for all ages! The facts within this book are astounding and make you truly appreciate all that the sun does for us on earth. (Or as it states, without it we couldn’t survive). The end-pages alone are full of facts. The front end-pages depict our Solar System and the back end-pages are packed with more information regarding other planets. The front inside jacket shows how fun and funny the rest of the book is: Guess What? Did you know that the Sun never stops working to keep things here on Earth running smoothly? (That’s why it’s been Employee of the Month for 4.5 billion years and counting.) The cartoon-like illustrations add to the humor, but also helps keep it kid-friendly. This book is a must!
How to be on the Moon, by Vivian Schwarz, showcases the important ingredients to a successful mission to the moon. Young Anna and her pal, Crocodile, combine their talents for this mission. Anna knows math. Crocodile has patience. And together, after Anna makes sandwiches, they are prepared to fly their rocket ship to the moon. The wonderful illustrations were done with pencil, crayons and watercolor. Many of the objects jump out, like the rocket ship, against muted gray and black. The story is a celebration of imag-ination!
Penguinaut!, by Marci Colleen, and cleverly illustrated with watercolor, collage, pencil, crayon, pen and paint by Emma Yarlett, is a hilarious and fun read-out-loud depicting a lonely and somewhat discouraged penguin who doesn’t seem to lead a very exiting life in the zoo like some of the other animals. So, he decides he will build a spaceship and fly to the moon. When he arrives there, he discovers it’s not as fun as sharing adventures with friends. So, he returns to enjoy the companionship of all the animals. There are funny puns along the way that kids may not get, but the adults will as they read it out-loud to their children.
Seven Wonders of the Milky Way, by David A. Aguilar, will undoubtedly inspire many scientists, astrophysicists and more, with this exquisitely illustrated picture book on the subject. As you learn about our galaxy the text is limited but packed within information helping keep ages ten and older engaged. The format has beautifully vivid painted images (based on factual scientific findings) that fill one side of the open page and the opposite side has the limited text to support the exquisite visual painting. More information to learn about the Milky Way is found at the back of the book. This book is geared for ages eight and up.
The Little Rocket, by Richard Collingridge, is a breathtaking and soaring ride into the far reaches of our Solar System. Here is a poetic ride with the magnitude of exploration and yet with the simplistic view of the possibilities of what’s out beyond our reach. The beginning end pages are just a sample of what’s to come. There is even a foldout at the end that not only solidifies the story’s end but also showcases the entire magnificent Solar System. This book is to be relished!
Stardust, by Jeanne Willis, and gorgeously illustrated with mixed media by Briony May Smith, captures the essence of our special “stardust” that is within each of us. A young girl doesn’t feel special. It seems her older sister is always the star. But Granddad puts a light on her, allegorically speaking, by telling her she is made of stardust and that we all shine in our own way. Each page is completely filled with color and the love Granddad projects is illustrated with glowing warmth.
If Pluto was a Pea, by Gabrielle Prendergast, and brightly illustrated digitally by Rebecca Gerlings, is an excellent picture book showcasing comparisons of our Solar System. Upon opening the book, you immediately see a colorful rendition of the Solar System with each planet labeled stretching across the inside double pages. Each open-page shows the comparison of Pluto, if it were a pea, with each of the other planets as something quite a bit larger, including the sun. It does state that because of Pluto’s size, it’s called a dwarf planet. Color completely fills every open-page illustration. This book is good for all ages.