NONFICTION

Dr. Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System

Kane Miller. Mar. 2020. 128p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781684640648.
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Gr 3-6–Aderin-Pocock, a British space scientist, encourages readers to use their imaginations and join her on a tour of the solar system. Appealing visuals and infographic-like design provide abundant contextual support. There is an extensive, 14-page introduction that explains “thought-experiments,” defines key concepts, and lays out the travel route. From Earth, readers head to the Moon, with a quick fly-by of the International Space Station, then journey to the Sun, and move outward. There are sections covering the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort Cloud. Asides throughout the text discuss various moons and past and planned future missions. Each planet gets a few standard stats listed: distance from the Sun, size, distance from Earth, year length (reframed as “How Many Birthdays?”), and day length, but the true value of this title is its engaging tone and concept. Jupiter is lauded as Earth’s protector whose density and gravity keeps space rocks from hitting us, while Venus, the acid planet, is classified as a danger zone because of its atmosphere that can dissolve plastic and metal. The book’s immersive design utilizes photographs as well as cartoons and realistic illustrations and diagrams. There are tour highlights where readers stop to climb Olympus Mons and fly through Saturn’s rings. Wide-ranging back matter is organized as the “ship’s database.”
VERDICT This fun and engaging resource could strengthen astronomy collections.

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