Malloy, Christine Corning, et al. The Solar System. New York: Chronicle Books, 2003. Print.
Above image taken by C. Cournoyer
The Solar System by Christine Corning Malloy, Aaron Leighton, and the American Museum of Natural History is a wonderful compact little volume that manages to pack in some of the mystery of the solar system into just a few well-designed pages.
A fold-out book with facts about the planets in small tabs that open up into a frieze of the solar system, it includes graphics and information about our planets, asteroids, comets, and various other objects (including Pluto!). Textboxes on each page describe the most interesting and essential facts about each object, surrounded by illustrations of each. When pulled out, the reader is able to see a graphic depiction of the solar system, and how each object fits into the whole. There is a small booklet attached to the back binding that has further information on the subject, including a great bibliography of open web resources.
The obvious feature of this lovely little book is the creative format; it reminds me of an artist book, and that’s not surprising, as Christine Corning Malloy is an art teacher. It works well in helping children visualize what each planet looks like as part of the solar system. The text is rather small, as it’s confined on small pages, and in small textboxes. But the main issue I find has to do with organization; the planets are not presented in sequential order from the sun, and this is somewhat confusing. For example, on the second and third pages, it presents Mercury, then the Earth’s Moon, and then Venus; Mars, Earth, and Jupiter follow on pages four and five. This might have to do with the way the book opens, but the presentation is problematic.
The third author on this book is the American Museum of Natural History in New York– a collaboration between science and art educators is usually a win-win, and this tiny book is no exception.