Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NEXT STOP NEPTUNE by Alvin Jenkins


Experiencing the Solar System

by Alvin Jenkins & illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-41603-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

A lucid description of the solar system, grounded in concepts that young readers can grasp, and exquisitely illustrated. Alvin Jenkins was a professor of astronomy, and he takes a journey that begins with the creation of a star and continues through each planet, its moons, asteroids, and other features in our immediate space. There’s a narrative that describes what it would be like to land on each planet, its physical features and its characteristics. Captions and capsule paragraphs add to that information. Jenkins père conveys the immensity of the solar system in imaginative ways: for each planet, he notes how long it would take to drive there; to illustrate distances, he uses the image of the Sun as a basketball, the earth as a pea, and a mile-and-a-half of distance. The pictures are made of paper collage—the Sun of marbled paper, clouds as torn rice paper, and so on—which in the hands of Jenkins fils turns out to be an excellent way of making the images work. A white font and brilliantly colored collages set on a black background make this a dramatic presentation also. A terrific experience indeed. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)