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Don't Know Much About the Solar System Paperback – September 7, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Don't Know Much About
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064462307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064462303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Five minutes with this book, and no one will be able to say they "don't know much about the solar system." Chock-full of facts, questions, and answers about the sun, gravity, planets, astronauts, space exploration, asteroids, the moon, and so much more, Kenneth C. Davis's Don't Know Much About the Solar System is a terrific resource for anyone interested in what's out there. Geared toward readers aged 6 to 9, the book uses a fun question-and-answer format, as well as riddles and humorous illustrations by Pedro Martin, to make learning about the solar system a positively sunny experience. Young readers discover why the moon is different shapes on different nights, which planets (besides Saturn) have rings, what's beyond the Milky Way, and why, if the earth is round, people on the other side don't fall off.

Davis, author of the bestselling Don't Know Much About History, has turned to a younger audience with his Don't Know Much About series. Don't Know Much About the 50 States is a great companion to the solar system title, while Don't Know Much About Planet Earth and Don't Know Much About Space work well for older readers. (Ages 6 to 9) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-The author of the popular "Don't Know Much about" series for adults and Don't Know Much about Space (HarperCollins, 2001) for middle readers goes after a somewhat younger audience here. Many of the facts are recycled, but the writing and art are all new, and the title doesn't reflect the book's scope. Davis covers the solar system's components, stars, constellations, galaxies, and space travel, too. Not in much depth, of course: with one to three questions per page and a several-sentence answer for each one, the intent here is plainly to spark interest in a topic, rather than lay out a systematic picture. The tone is anything but earnest; Davis sprinkles his tour with lame jokes ("What planets are the saddest? Answer: Uranus and Neptune-they're always blue!"), and Hallmark-artist Martin chimes in with plenty of lighthearted cartoon illustrations featuring wisecracking celestial bodies with faces and young explorers in space suits. Except that Galileo is wrongly credited with "proving" Copernicus's heliocentric theory, the information is accurate, as far as it goes, and budding astronomers ready to expand their view of the high frontier even further will find a generous selection of Web-site addresses at the end. Though this tour is but one in a crowd, its combination of visual appeal and lively exposition should attract and hold even less able or interested readers.

John Peters, New York Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kenneth C. Davis is the author of Don't Know Much About® History, which spent 35 consecutive weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and gave rise to the Don't Know Much About® series, which has a combined in-print total of 4.3-million copies. Davis has been dubbed the "King of Knowing" by Amazon.com because he becomes a subject expert in all of the areas he writes about: the Bible, Mythology, snd the Civil War, for example, and his latest Don't Know Much About® the American Presidents. Davis's success aptly makes the case that Americans don't hate history, just the dull version they slept through in class. But many of them want to know now because their kids are asking them questions they can't answer. Davis's approach is to refresh us on the subjects we should have learned in school. He does it by busting myths, setting the record straight and always remembering that fun is not a four-word letter word. Kenneth C. Davis is a frequent media guest and has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows, including NPR, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, CNN, and The O'Reilly Factor. He has been a commentator for All Things Considered, and has written for the New York Times Op-Ed page, Smithsonian magazine and CNN,com and other national publications. In addition to his adult titles, he writes the Don't Know Much About Children's series published by HarperCollins. He lives in New York with his wife. They have two grown children.

Customer Reviews

Very entertaining and well written.
Eric Mascarin Perigault
Clearly this is one thing that you don't need to know because it didn't happen 30 years short of a time period we call medieval Europe.
E. Moon
The title is appropriate, in that Mr. Davis certainly does not know much about geography.
Martin D. Peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 186 people found the following review helpful By Robert Adler on July 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love the title and the idea of the book--a fun, accessible introduction to geography. And, the book accomplishes what it sets out to do, to a large extent. However, as I read it I kept being jarred by errors; not just typos or minor errors, but really big, sloppy mistakes. Here are a few of them (from the 1992 paperback):

Page 175: Since it takes the moon a little more than a day to orbit the Earth . . .

Wrong, and in a way that suggests the author really doesn't understand the Earth-Moon system.

Page 212: . . . the white marble lighthouse stood 440 feet (1234 meters) high . . .

Let's see, are meters longer than feet, or shorter than feet? Do we multiply or divide?

Page 275: . . . meteorites strike at tremendous speeds--as much as 90,000 miles per second.

Hmmm. That's about half the speed of light. I don't think so.

Page 289: The spiraling winds may reach from 9 to 24 miles (15 to 20 km) up into the atmosphere.

At least try to keep the numbers consistent.

Page 312: Pluto may actually belong to another solar system . . .

Then what is it doing orbiting the sun?

Etc., Etc., Etc.

It's a very good idea, but one that deserved a lot more care.

Robert Adler, author of Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation; and Medical Firsts: From Hippocrates to the Human Genome.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on October 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
A pretty good introduction to a variety of topics in geography, geology, astronomy (generally as it relates to the earth), and history as well. In part, the book is fairly basic, addressing some basic topics such as what are continents, addressing if Columbus "discovered" America or not, what is a light year, and listing the world's largest seas for instance. Some commentators called the book remedial I see, and at times, yes, it can be. Many of the questions that are answered (the information in the book is generally presented as a particular question followed by several paragraphs to several pages of answers for each) can be high school or even middle school level (though not written at middle school level).
By and large though, I found the book a really neat read, covering a lot of topics. While it might have been nice if some questions were gone into in more depth, all in all the author, Kenneth C. Davis, is to be commended by his well-written answers to a variety of questions in world geography. To me, many topics that were addressed were not remedial at all. What do tides and tidal waves have to do with one another? Isn't Europe just part of Asia? Why is Australia a continent? Where was the Garden of Eden, or was there one? Why are there no deserts on the Equator? Why is the Black Sea called that? How did Africa come to be called the Dark Continent? Are there Canaries in the Canary Islands? What the heck is a Hoosier? I don't know about you, but I wasn't able to answer all those questions, and I was intrigued to read the interesting and well-written answers to these questions. If want some fun light reading in geography and history, bone up on your trivia for the next time you watch Jeopardy! or play Trivial Pursuit, or just want to impress your familiy and friends, this book is one to get.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Greer on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I thought this book might be interesting for my class (I'm a Geography High school teacher). Now, I've read many a dull tome on Geography in my many years. At least they were informative, mistake free and educational. Unfortunately, I cannot say say the same for this drivel. Not only is it dumbed down but, it is still dry and boring. I was drifting off while reading it (and I love geography - can't get enough of it!). There are mistakes a plenty. Not only the ones mentioned before, but I found 'facts' cotradicting themselves in the same chapter. In short; dry, boring, mistake ridden and dated.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Martin D. Peterson on February 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I like the idea of a relatively easy, general-knowledge book about geography. The "facts" presented in such a book, however, should actually be factual. Throughout the reading of this book I was astonished by the number of mistakes concerning matters of common knowledge. The American Civil War started in 1861 not 1860 (page 242), and the Korean War started in 1950 not 1951 (page 261). My sister's birthday is July 20th, so I know Apollo 11 landed on the moon on that date, rather than on July 11th, as stated on page 324. It's not only a matter of erroneous dating. According to the author, Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, is cold (page 312)!!! With daytime temperatures as high as 800 degrees fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead, I guess one must be sure to pack warm clothes if planning a trip there. These are just some of the numerous examples of mistakes in a book that was clearly very poorly researched and written. The title is appropriate, in that Mr. Davis certainly does not know much about geography.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Superficial, trendy, politically correct, and shallow.
Presents many theories and personal opinions as fact. Misrepresents views of the scientific community regarding the issue of global warming.
For a book about geography, contains far fewer maps than would be expected.
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