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, not unlike the ones in the Tag books for little ones, but these much more intricately detailed, 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: C 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. I did receive a couple copies to use or give away —
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Meet the Planets, just leave a comment below. For extra entries, “like” Toddler Planet and/or Women in Planetary Science on Facebook, and leave another comment telling me that you’ve done so! I’ll use random.org to select the winner and mail the books at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.