Reviews for Out of This World : Poems and Facts About Space

Booklist Reviews 2012 April #1
This attractive volume offers 20 illustrated poems about space travel and astronomy, supported by information related to each selection. The wide-ranging topics include the unusual items that the Apollo 11 astronauts took to the moon; the experience of zero gravity; the planets considered as potential vacation spots; and constellations viewed as both stars and stories. In the verse, Sklansky has a pleasing way with words and a good sense of what appeals to children. A wide black border running vertically along one or both pages of the spread acts as a fact box, carrying information (printed in white) that kids might need to know to understand a specific poem, as well as intriguing related factoids. Schuett's mixed-media artwork digitally combines appealing gouache paintings with more formal printed elements that bring subtle texture and a sense of fathomless depth and mystery to the best illustrations here. Recommended for both library poetry collections and classroom astronomy units. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Poems (of varying quality) about space travel, astronauts, bodies in the solar system, and the universe combine scientific terminology and wonderment. Each is juxtaposed, some in creative graphic formats, on cartoonlike illustrations of the featured object. Black border margins contain more detailed facts and background information about such topics as weightlessness, the history of flight, and planetary surface conditions.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
Each of these 20 short poems for young readers is accompanied by information on the geography of space and its human exploration, exemplified by the Apollo 11 mission. A cover showing an old constellation map and endpapers with a Hubble-like image of a spiral galaxy set the stage for this combination of facts and poetry. Sklansky (Skeleton Bones and Goblin Groans, 2004) uses a variety of simple forms, some rhyming, some free verse. She touches on superstition (wishing on a star), science (the sun is "[f]usion profusion") and mythology. There's an acrostic about the moon and a shape poem about the universe. Each poem is set on a digital-and-gouache image which extends most of the way across a spread or page, leaving a narrow column of black for a paragraph or so of related information. Though science terms are used (but not defined), the narrative sometimes talks down to the reader. "In order to reach space, a spaceship has to go really fast to break free from the powerful pull of Earth's gravity." Similarly, all the astronauts shown in the illustrations are children. Likely to appeal to a younger audience than Douglas Florian's Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars (2007), this would be a satisfactory, if rather mundane, companion. (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #4

Sklansky contrasts light verse about the universe with facts about outer space (which appear in sidebars) in this gentle collection, while Schuett combines homey gouache cartoons with digitally rendered intergalactic details. After a pair of siblings blast off in a rocket, "The Earth/ fills/ their window/ and then/ drops away,/ like a/ basketball/ baseball/ golfball/ marble./ How far from home/ they've traveled today." Another boy contemplates visiting the planets, allowing Sklansky to work in some additional science ("On Venus, I could marvel/ at a sunrise in the west./ Nice... except sulfuric clouds/ do not encourage guests"). An evocative mix of the whimsical and the scientific. Ages 5-9. Agent: April Prince, Studio Goodwin Sturges. Illustrator's agent: Christina Tugeau. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

Gr 3-5--Through poetry and factual explanations, Sklansky introduces the physical characteristics of celestial bodies, the work of astronauts, and various spacecraft. The opening verses are minimal phrasings of a countdown and a blast-off from Earth through layers of atmosphere to outer space. "Troposphere,/Stratosphere/Mesosphere,/Thermosphere/Exosphere/(I'm outta here!)/SPACE." This poem, along with some others, takes visual shape, written in white type ascending on a sloping plane from darkened Earth on the lower left up through shadowy layers to a tiny spacecraft heading into the stars on the far upper right. The selections--some haiku, many brief pieces, and longer poems in rhyming verse--are set into broad, usually dark, digitally produced scenes with columns of related factual explanation at the outer edge of the pages. The illustrations include both the bold images familiar from space photography and several homey pictures of children in their rooms or viewing the heavenly action from out of doors. Though some of the children lend a somewhat younger look to the book than its likely readers, these scenes serve nicely to remind viewers that they are part of the grand, handsome space scene. Bright in tone, the poems touch on Sputnik 1, space suits, sleeping arrangements, meteoroids, footprints on the Moon, and more. "Packing for the Moon" nicely lists the lucky mementos Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried on their historic journey. The picture-book blend of poetry, nonfiction, and vivid extraterrestrial views is an inviting browsing item and an attractive introduction to space travel.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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