Fledgling readers curious about the lights in the sky will get an eyeful of the two brightest ones from this new entry in the venerable nonfiction series.
With both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards shaping her approach, DeCristofano invites interactive reading by making simple comparisons—the sun is visible by day and always round, for instance, while the moon is at least easier to view at night and changes shape—and offering several homespun projects or observational activities. Morley provides views of the moon’s phases (most of them anyway: “gibbous” doesn’t make the cut) and of our planet rotating from “day” to “night,” of robots and other “stuff from Earth” on the lunar surface, and of dramatically swirling solar flares. She also sends a boy and a girl, their skins different shades of light brown and her hair kinky, aboard a rocket into space for closer looks at the two heavenly bodies. Though the author’s cautions about looking directly at the sun don’t show up until the end, and in some illustrations the children’s unprotected skyward gazes seem dangerously direct, overall the content is accurate, presented with contagious enthusiasm, and carefully pitched to challenge but not daunt the intended audience.
A glowing liftoff for any child’s interest in matters astronomical. (further reading, website) (Informational picture book. 6-8)