Major Funding The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation

Planets: Books


The Planets in Our Solar System (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2)

ISBN: 006445178X
Ages: 4-8

This simple text by Franklyn M. Branely introduces the planets in our solar system and is complemented by Kevin O'Malley's full-color illustrations, which incorporate some of the newest space photographs available. The often humorous illustrations depict a group of children and an astronomer as they learn all about our solar system. Included are many hands-on activities.


Magnificent Mars

ISBN: 0743226011
All Ages

Harvard-trained astronomer, Ken Croswell thoroughly explores the science, the culture, and the romance of the red planet and presents with insightful prose and astonishing images the red planet's full glory, showing volcanoes taller than Mount Everest, spiral-shaped polar caps of ice, and a canyon system that could stretch from Ohio to California. Here is a concise synthesis of the latest research on Mars, accompanied by the very best full-color images from Viking, Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and other spacecraft. Highlights include a foldout panorama of the Martian surface; a rainbow-colored topographic map; and a sequence showing a full rotation of Mars, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope.

With its large format, superb images, and compelling text, Magnificent Mars is the next best thing to standing on the red planet itself.


Mars: The Red Planet (All Aboard Reading Level 3)

ISBN: 0448418436
Ages: 4-8

Set your radar for the fourth planet from the sun! This easy-to-read science book covers it all — from little green men to the most recent discoveries made by NASA's long-distance space travelers, Pathfinder and Sojourner!

The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds

ISBN: 0689813236
Young Adult

In this lively account, Fradin incorporates some new material as he brings the exciting, often disputatious history of the search for other planets up-to-date. Drawing clear connections between, for instance, the observations of the ancients as refined by Tycho Brahe, the last of the great naked-eye astronomers, and the work of Johannes Kepler and later searchers, the author also shows how doctrine, disinterest, and concern for professional reputations often delayed discoveries or led searches astray. He brings his story into the 20th century by interviewing Clyde Tombaugh, the discoverer of Pluto. Fradin reports on newly discovered planets orbiting distant pulsars that Dr. Alex Wolszczan and others have detected, and closes with a discussion of the pros and cons of a 10th planet in our own solar system. [John Peters, New York Public Library]


The Planets

ISBN: 0823411338
Ages: 4-8

Gibbons uses brief declarative sentences to describe the sun and each planet of the solar system in succession, introducing concepts such as a day, a year, orbit, and rotation. Her paintings sometimes tread the edge of oversimplicity; in a demonstration of day and night, there is almost no contrast between the planet's light and dark sides, and though she mentions in the text that Pluto is currently closer to the sun than Neptune, their orbits do not cross in the illustrations. Still, the bright colors, simplified shapes, and spacious, uncomplicated page design make this an inviting gateway to the subject. The book closes with an introduction to astronomy, creating a natural transition to the author's Stargazers (Holiday, 1992). [John Peters, New York Public Library]


I didn't know that the Sun is a Star

ISBN: 076130567X
Ages: 8-12

A book full of amazing facts, projects and hands-on fun.

To Space and Back

ISBN: 0688061591
Ages: 9-12

From the alarm clock ringing at 3:15 a.m. on launch day to getting used to gravity again after returning to Earth, Sally Ride takes readers on a trip in a space shuttle. This oversized book has plenty of clear, full-color photos that follow and supplement the text and bring to life the shuttle flight. Ride's zest for the adventure comes through clearly, making this a book that can be read aloud to young children, please an adult, or inspire anyone in between. [Margaret L. Chatham, formerly at Smithtown Library, N.Y.]


Exploring Our Solar System

ISBN: 0375812040
Gr. 4-8

In this copiously illustrated volume, astronaut Ride and educator O'Shaughnessy offer a thrilling introduction to our solar system. Although our neighboring planets were “formed at about the same time and from about the same stuff,” the authors write, “they are nine very different worlds.” Each chapter takes readers on a planetary tour. The section on Earth includes a time line and theories of the evolution of life on our planet. The authors explain facts in simple, straightforward language that doesn't condescend to a young audience, and the visuals include exciting images from space, charts that contrast the planets' properties, and artists' renderings of unattainable space views and imagined explorations. Throughout, the authors successfully put the planets in wider context, as in the section “Venus, Earth and Mars — Why They Are So Different.” Useful appended charts, including a full listing of all space flights, add to the appeal. Visually arresting and clearly presented, this is an obvious choice for both public and school libraries. [Gillian Engberg]

Earth: Our Planet in Space

ISBN: 0689835620
Ages: 9-12

This intimate and beautiful study of Earth investigates the relationship between our planet, the sun, and the moon. Why are there seasons on Earth? How does day pass into night? What protects the Earth from the sun's intense heat? Why is the surface of the Earth constantly changing? The informative text reveals how Earth's unique position in relation to the sun makes it the only planet where life is possible. The stunning full-color photographs will mesmerize young readers about the mysteries of space.


Our Solar System

ISBN: 0688099920
Ages: 9-12

Having worked his way through individual volumes on the Sun and its galactic companions, Simon now offers a brief overview of the solar system itself. The full-color photographs and illustrations are spectacular. Each of the planets gets several pages of coverage, with comets, meteors, and asteroids also receiving attention. This book serves best as an introduction to the single topic books since the information presented here is quite brief. The endpapers have a nicely organized chart of useful statistics such as diameter, rotation period, revolution period, etc., for each planet. Not sufficient in itself for most report needs, this title's eye-catching illustrations and understandable text should encourage young readers to look for further information. [Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA]


Planets Around the Sun – Level 1

ISBN: 1587171465
Ages: 4-8

With brief, accessible text, engaging topics and a perforated page of collectible cards, Seymour Simon's See More Reader series will rope in even the most reluctant readers.

The Smithsonian Book of Mars (Smithsonian Library of the Solar System)

ISBN: 1568527144
Ages: 12 and up

Former NASA scientist Boyce draws his clear explanations of Mars's atmosphere, climate, surface, and interior from the monumental findings of the different NASA missions. Beginning with Mariner 4 in 1965 and continuing through the 2001 Mars Odyssey probe, each spacecraft sent to Mars yielded fascinating new discoveries (how did those "canals" come to be?) and occasionally overturned earlier findings–especially when trying to answer NASA's ultimate question, “Are we alone?” The search for life on Mars seemed to be over after the 1976 Viking mission, but in 1997 scientists announced that they had found possible traces of ancient life in the ALH84001 Martian Meteorite, sparking furious debates in scientific journals. That controversy is precisely why Boyce finds Mars so endlessly fascinating — you just never know.

Boyce closes the book with a look at the bright future for additional Mars exploration and outlines the requirements for a manned mission. He spent many hours scouring the NASA archives and has included only the best pictures.

Movies and More

Rocket Boy

My Fantastic Field Trip to the Planets

Run Time: 70 minutes
Rated G

A song and dance adventure featuring Jake who takes off on an adventure through space with the help of 9 friendly planets. The catchy music will help viewers to remember the planets.


The Magic School Bus - Space Adventures

Run Time: 82 minutes
Not Rated

A movie in the familiar series about Mrs. Frizzle and her class as they are off on another adventure. This time, they are visiting space in three different adventures.


Melissa and Doug Solar System 48pc Floor Puzzle

Size: 24" x 36"

Large floor puzzle for all ages displaying the solar system, including the sun, all of the planets and their moons. Fun for the whole family.

Carson Dellosa Solar System Poster

Assemble 4 individual posters together to create a panoramic view of our solar system.


Uncle Milton's Star Theater Pro

The closest thing to being in a real planetarium. Hundreds of stars and constellations are projected on your ceiling and walls while you listen to an exciting audio CD tour of the night sky. Control comets and meteors in your display. The whole family can enjoy this together. Ages 6 and up; some adult assistance needed

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