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Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun

Ken Croswell, Author . Boyds Mills $19.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59078-423-5

On the basis of its striking design and photographs, this handsome, large-format volume is well worthy of praise. And astronomer Crosswell's (See the Stars ) concise yet conversational, information-packed text wins it sky-high accolades in the narrative sphere as well. As the author takes readers on an elucidating tour of the solar system—traveling outwards from the sun—brilliantly colored photos of each planet and of their moons (mostly NASA shots) pop dramatically from a black background, while the text appears against pastel-toned panels. Croswell authoritatively explains the physical characteristics, temperature and atmospheric makeup of the planets; tells how they were named; examines comets, meteors and asteroids; and details the knowledge gleaned from spacecrafts' photographs and specific astronomers' discoveries. He confidently puts forth his own theories (he believes in the theory that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs and allowed other forms of life to evolve, including humans). Timely references to recently launched spacecraft and their missions, and an intriguing look at "the tenth planet" (discovered in 2005, the planet takes 559 years to orbit the sun), attest to the book's relevance. Colorful, accessible analogies abound: remarking that stars shine during the day as well as the night, yet are washed out by sunlight, Croswell notes, "In the same way, you can't hear a soft flute when a loud car goes by." Concluding with charts that handily round up statistics about the planets and their moons, this eye-opening book will feed kids' curiosity about the worlds beyond earth. Ages 6-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/17/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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