Saturday 18 November 2023

The Sun and the Planets

The Sun and the Planets by Patricia Geis (Bushel and Peck Books) HB RRP $57.50 ISBN 9781638192984

On the front cover is written ‘A 3D Solar System with Pop-Ups’ and ‘Investigate like a real scientist with interactive models and mechanisms.’ Opening the book, there’s an invitation to the young readers to ‘suit up and climb aboard the spaceship!’ There’s a countdown, and a rocket shoots into space. (‘Until you cross the Karman line – 62 miles --, you won’t be able to say your in outer space.’) This double page, as with all pages that follow, is filled with information presented within the book’s design. In the first double page, for example, there is an outer yellow column which shows the stages of the Earth’s atmosphere, from troposphere going up into stratosphere, then mesosphere, and finally thermosphere. It also indicates how many minutes it takes to reach each level (for example one enters outer space in approximately 50 minutes from Earth.)

As well as the many texts, Geis is responsible for all illustrations and paper engineering. The latter includes models such as Earth and the planets. There are many pieces of cardboard to open and explore. Some reveal information, some show images to scale. There is much of interest – such as the fact that ‘In 1969 the Apollo II astronauts were the first ever to set foot on the Moon. It took them 4 days and 6 hours to get there.’ There is so much to explore and read about! Child readers can learn about the ISS Space Station, the sun, Earth, day, and night, east and west, eclipses, the moon, and the planets. The final message in the book reads, ‘Our solar system is a tiny part of the huge Milky Way. And the Milky Way is just one of two trillion galaxies that make up the universe.’ (The Milky Way is 100,000 light years across).

There are not many pages in this sturdy book, but each is crammed with illustrations, paper manipulation, and information. The palette is mostly dark colours, to represent space, and there is a wealth of facts. The book would ideally be enjoyed by any reader aged 7+ years who is keen to learn about space.

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