Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Poetry Book Review

COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS: Florian, Douglas, 2007. Illustrated by Douglas Florian. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc. ISBN#978-0-15-205372-7

Douglas Florian has done it again! In this, one of his most recent books of poetry, he has written poems for each planet (including Pluto!), the sun, our moon, and other interesting objects found out beyond our atmosphere. Each poem is accompanied by an illustration of paintings, collage, or rubber stamps. There are strategically placed cutouts within some of the illustrations too, giving a tantalizing hint of what lies beyond, or on the next page for us earthbound types.

My favorite poem is "Pluto:"

     Pluto was a planet.
     But now it dosn't pass.
     Pluto was a planet.
     They say it's lacking mass.
     Pluto was a planet.
     Pluto was admired.
     Pluto was a planet.
     Till one day it got fired.

I've always felt sorry for Pluto - here it was minding its own business and just being itself, until suddenly one day some scientist decided it couldn't be a planet anymore. Mr. Florian expresses that same sentiment, albeit so much better than I ever could!

Mr. Florian also provides a "Galactic Glossary" and helpful bibliography at the end of his book. The glossary provides factual, helpful information useful to teachers who want to incorporate poetry into their astronomy lessons. One example is his entry for the minor planets:

         "The minor planets, also called asteroids
          or planetoids, are pieces of rock
          orbiting the Sun. The largest is Ceres,
          which is approximately 180 miles
          across. The greatest concentration of minor
is found between Mars and Jupiter
          in an area called the asteroid belt, where
          they likely number in the millions."

graphic from: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9780152053727&ourl=Comets%2DStars%2Dthe%2DMoon%2Dand%2DMars%2FDouglas%2DFlorian accessed 3/24/2009.

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