S. & S./Simon Spotlight. (Our Universe). Jul. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534486430; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781534486423.
K-Gr 2–K-Gr 2 All eyes are on the moon in this early reader about Earth’s “natural satellite.” The book opens with a five-word glossary that briefly defines words like “asteroid” and “gravity” before diving into a friendly overview of the titular subject. The first person plural narration tells that, uncertain of the moon’s origin, many scientists believe “a large object slammed into our young Earth billions of years ago.” When that happened, rocks and dust went flying and eventually gathered to form the moon. The text goes on to succinctly explain key concepts, such as gravity, lunar eclipses, and the moon’s different faces (both real phases and imagined shapes in the craters). Neil Armstrong’s historic visit to the moon in 1969 precludes a final, wistful image of a child and cat looking up at the sky from their window. An “Interesting Facts” section is appended. Much like Bauer and Wallace’s “Wonders of America” and “Natural Disasters” series and their respective subjects, this first “Our Universe” entry makes outer space accessible to emerging readers. All but one page has a single sentence and no more than three lines per page. Though there is some repetition of words or phrases, the number of unique words (around 120) assumes some reading fluency. Wallace’s signature cartoon watercolor-and-pencil illustrations engagingly mix imagined scenes with more diagramlike images. Human figures are diverse in skin tone.
VERDICT With plenty to engage curious minds, this title (and series) should circulate well in most early reader collections.

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