Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars
Florian, D. (2007). Comets, stars, the moon, and mars. Harcourt.
This informational book of poetry captures the reader with rhythmic phrases and beautiful illustrations. While all of the poems are about space, each focuses on a specific topic. From the universe to singular planets and on to "The Great Beyond," the book provides information in short, rhyming verses with a painted background that adds a dreamy quality to the text.
I love this book because it is about a high-interest topic, so readers may choose it because of the subject matter even if they don't normally enjoy poetry. The poems are short, which may also be a selling point for some students. Readers can easily connect to the text. Such phrases as, "All persons throughout history- Including you, Including me" and "Start out when the day is done. Most of all: Have lots of fun!" draw you in. The painted illustrations are true works of art that add description and detail for each poem.
Nothing gladdens the heart of believers in good poetry for children more than a new collection by Florian, whose verses and paintings consistently capture the essence of his featured themes. This one literally sings the music of the spheres. Twenty playfully lyrical poems treat topics such as the universe, the individual planets, constellations, and black holes. Each selection is presented on its own spread and adorned with a magical painting done in gouache, collage, and rubber stamps on brown paper. Circles abound in the artwork, and many pages have round cut-outs that lead into the next picture. For example, "the earth" ("Two-thirds water./One-third land./Valleys deep./Mountains grand") is illustrated with a colorful globe decorated with circled collage prints of animals and plants. A smaller orb appears nearby, made from a cut-out circle that reveals part of the illustration for the next selection, "the moon." Some of the paintings incorporate mythological names and images. The pleasing blend of faded shades and brilliant colors, of old-fashioned prints and fanciful sketches, makes the illustrations seem both antique and high-tech. An appended "Galactic Glossary" provides additional information. In both language and artwork, Florian strikes the perfect balance between grandeur and whimsy. Like Myra Cohn Livingston and Leonard Everett Fisher's Space Songs (Holiday House, 1988; o.p.), this book is a work of art worthy of the vastness of its subject.
Whalin, K. (2007, July). [Review of Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars]. School
Library Journal. Retrieved from http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2071/ehost/
~ I would use this book to connect literature with third grade science TEKS. This would be a great way to include poetry throughout the year, integrated into other areas of the curriculum.