Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars

COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS; Douglas Florian; New York: Harcourt, 2007; 47pp. Poetry/Picture Book

As is usual, Douglas Florian's new book is filled with linguistic and artistic riches. Poems about the solar system and beyond are beautifully illustrated with gouache, collage, and rubber stamps on brown paper bags: a trident and mosaic of the Roman god ride the planet Neptune; swift feet and a car surround and decorate Mercury; everything in the vicinity circles the drain of a small but very black hole. Pluto's sad fate is memorialized: "Pluto was a planet./But now it doesn'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." A perfect book for kids who like astronomy and think they don't like poetry. Or, for adults.

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