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OUT OF THIS WORLD by Amy E. Sklansky


Poems and Facts about Space

by Amy E. Sklansky & illustrated by Stacey Schuett

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86459-9
Publisher: Knopf

Each of these 20 short poems for young readers is accompanied by information on the geography of space and its human exploration, exemplified by the Apollo 11 mission.

A cover showing an old constellation map and endpapers with a Hubble-like image of a spiral galaxy set the stage for this combination of facts and poetry. Sklansky (Skeleton Bones and Goblin Groans, 2004) uses a variety of simple forms, some rhyming, some free verse. She touches on superstition (wishing on a star), science (the sun is “[f]usion profusion”) and mythology. There's an acrostic about the moon and a shape poem about the universe. Each poem is set on a digital-and-gouache image which extends most of the way across a spread or page, leaving a narrow column of black for a paragraph or so of related information. Though science terms are used (but not defined), the narrative sometimes talks down to the reader. “In order to reach space, a spaceship has to go really fast to break free from the powerful pull of Earth’s gravity.” Similarly, all the astronauts shown in the illustrations are children.

Likely to appeal to a younger audience than Douglas Florian’s Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars (2007), this would be a satisfactory, if rather mundane, companion. (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-9)