“It's an unfortunate fact of life-in-print that books get overtaken by events, and Horn Book editors have been busy blue-penciling reviews of all the astronomy books that haven't caught up with the events of August 26th of last year…”
I assume most of you bloggers who reside on planet Earth know that poor Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet last summer. Now it’s just considered an insignificant cosmic sidekick for the big galactic gasballs—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Pluto was a planet.
In his poems, Florian writes about the EIGHT planets, the asteroids, the phases of the moon, the names of constellations, the different shapes of galaxies, a comet, the gravitational pull of a black hole, “the great beyond”…and, of course, the once-upon-a-time-but-no-longer-a-planet-anymore Pluto. This book is traditional Florian. Its poems are rhythmic, rhyming, and light-hearted. He coins some inventive language: super-dupiter Jupiterterrific and Saturning. And while his verse may be playful in nature, Florian is adept at including tidbits of astronomic information in his poems. Let me provide you with some examples of this:
Gaseous like Neptune,
But slightly more wide.
Heaven knows how
It got knocked on its side.
The painting that accompanies this poem illustrates how Uranus’s rings "appear" to spin around the blue-green gassy sphere--or sideways planet--from pole to pole rather than its equator because of the odd way in which the planet rotates.
From THE SUN
Ninety-three million miles from Earth.
Nearly a million miles in girth.
4.6 billion years old.
Core eight times as dense as gold.
From THE MOON
A NEW moon isn’t really new,
It’s merely somewhat dark to view…
A HALF moon is half dark, half light.
At sunset look due south to sight.
Florian aptly ends this book with the poem The Great Beyond—and ends the final poem with a little “play” on words.
Great galaxies spin,
While bright comets race.
And I’d tell you more,
But I’ve run out of space.
Here is a poem of address that was written by one of my second grade classes on March 3, 1996:
shooting around in space,
whizzing past the sun,
your long tail glowing,
where are you going?
Click on Budding Poets and you will slip through a wormhole and emerge in an outta this world galaxy of prize-winning children’s science poems written by my second grade students in 2000.
I will leave you with a silly little ditty that I wrote many moons ago. I just changed the last line yesterday.
Hickory dickory docket,
I sped into space in a rocket.
I traveled past Mars
And seventeen stars
With a picture of Earth in my locket.
Just one more poem from an astronomy buff! I wrote the following old moldering poem nearly twenty years ago.
together in a cosmic kindergarten
holding hands in a circle
playing Ring around the Sun
yearning to grow up
and have orbits of their own