From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Though trailing the main rush of solar system updates that followed the International Astronomical Union's 2006 reclassification of the planets, this fluently written, handsomely designed tour makes a good choice for smaller and less-well-budgeted collections. Steering a typical itinerary, Aguilar begins with the Sun, visits each terrestrial planet, dwarf planet, and gas giant from Mercury to Eris, then closes with glimpses of other solar systems, plus a compressed set of comparative charts and useful Web sites. His grasp of classical mythology is not firm (Apollo was not "the mightiest of all the gods"), but his astronomical information is both accurate and expressed in lively ways: "A soda can dropped on the surface [of Venus] would be crushed by the atmospheric pressure. These thick clouds also work like windows in a car, trapping incoming sunlight." The author's big, bright digital paintings, supplemented by an occasional photo, offer a gallery of close-ups, group portraits, moons, comets, diagrammatic views, and cutaways that will attract casual browsers as well as budding astronomers and assignment-driven readers. Use as a replacement; it's past time to retire any title on your shelves that refers to "nine planets."—John Peters, New York Public Library
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Although the title sounds unorthodox, Aguilar uses the classification by the International Astronomical Union (which demoted Pluto to dwarf status in 2006). In addition to the eight full-fledged planets, the group of 11 includes the three dwarf planets, Ceres in the asteroid belt beyond Mars and Pluto, and Eris in the outlying Kuiper belt. The book offers a visually impressive tour of major objects in the solar system, whether one defines them as planets or not. A typical double-page presentation of a planet, moon, or other topic includes a dramatic full-page, color image, one or more smaller ones, as well as a paragraph of text and several informative captions. Fast facts, such as diameter and temperature range, appear on an appended chart, along with a glossary and a seemingly down-to-earth project that demonstrates the relative sizes and distances between objects in the solar system. An attractive and timely addition to astronomy collections. Grades 5-8. --Carolyn Phelan