From School Library Journal
Grade 3-4-Aimed at readers who know a little and want to know a little more, these above-average surveys include simple projects and briefly told myths. Using a question-and-answer format, Nicolson begins her tour of The Planets with Mercury, systematically describing local conditions ("What would it be like to visit...?"), major physical features ("Why does Venus look so bright?"), and basic facts, such as year length and size compared to Earth's. She also offers a page of folktales; anecdotal versions of the story of Galileo, a discussion of the controversial Martian meteorite recently found in Antarctica, and the like; and six low-tech projects, including an edible model solar system made from fruits and seeds. Fleshing out The Stars with more projects, plus myths from India, ancient Greece, and elsewhere, the author covers the differences between stars and other astronomical objects, constellations, black holes, galaxies, and the history of the universe. Both books are illustrated with small, clear watercolors, supplemented by occasional full-color photographs, and end with unusually detailed indexes. Nicolson's claim in Planets that scientists aren't sure whether or not extrasolar planets exist has been rendered moot by recent evidence, but otherwise her facts and speculations are well chosen and accurately expressed. Equally useful for scientific and cultural study, these titles are worthwhile additions to any collection.John Peters, New York Public Library
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About the Author
Bill Slavin is an award-winning children's book illustrator with over 50 books to his credit. His works include Stanley?s Party and The Bear on the Bed. He lives in Millbrook, Ontario.