The Sun and the Places Where It Shines   A book about our solar system

Author: Thea Kinyon

Genre: nonfiction

Age: 8+

Thea Kinyon wrote this book in the hopes of inspiring children to become interested in planetary science. Fifty percent of the profits are given back to the Chabot Space Center in California. The 36 page book is filled with large, colorful illustrations. The author begins with the evolution of our solar system and descriptions of our sun. Each  one of the planets and its moons are featured. Ms. Kinyon discusses their similarities and differences. She suggests reasons why life on these planets if it exists might be very different from life on earth. There is a glossary featuring some of the more difficult terms included near the end of the book. In addition, the author provides a short selection of internet sites where more information may be found on these topics. As a bonus, the constellations are featured with two blank pages for the young scientist to record what is seen when she goes out to explore the night sky.

This is an interesting book. I did note a few weaknesses. Near its end the author asks the reader to go back and refer to information on previous pages. While cross referencing skills are a tool students need to master, it does distract the reader. Also, the text is not of uniform size. The placement on the pages is not consistent. A child with dyslexia or similar reading problems would find difficulty following the story line.

All in all, the author does a good job of presenting a lot of information on our solar system in a concise format. Younger children will enjoy the pictures and story when read aloud by parent or teacher. They will be sure to ask questions. Older children will find a wealth of information, some new vocabulary, and a springboard for further investigation of the topic either on their own or as a unit of classroom study.

The book is available for free download or purchase on http://freekidsbooks.org