LS 5663 Science Poetry

Florian, Douglas. Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars. Harcourt, Inc. 2007. ISBN 9780152053727

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars is a bit of a conundrum.  For the most part, it is an enjoyable (mostly) linear collection of poems about space and the planets with interesting, if strange, illustrations and fun circular cutouts that fit around a planet or the sun.  On the other hand, things such as the names of the moons (which are wrapped around the moon they are naming) can be hard to read or in the case of craters and segments of the planets confusing if you were not aware parts of planets or Earth’s moon are named.

One thing to be said for the individual poems is that they are brief.  If a class is studying black holes one day an Mars the next (or perhaps it would make more sense to say Mars one day an Jupiter the next), this collection makes it easy to start the day off with a poem on the appropriate topic.  In fact, the poems in some cases, stand better without the confusing images.

This collection does include a glossary and further reading list, which would be extremely helpful to a young independent reader.  This book lends itself towards a more mature reader, yet at the same time, the very same pictures that would confound a young reader would possibly put off an older one due to the strange color scheme that includes chartreuse, rust, burn umber, and what suspiciously looks like red crayon.

Spotlight Poem

Pluto by Douglas Florian

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.


For student’s who didn’t grow up with nine planets, which should be most of them now, it would be fun to use this to explore how science is still learning and changing.  Perhaps, if the library had the permissions and resources, they could show The Magic School Bus: Lost in Space.  That specific 1994 episode, is about a trip through the solar system including the ninth planet, Pluto.  It would be interesting to hear children’s definitions of what is or is not a planet. (I remember shortly after it was decided that Pluto was not a planet there were “tombstones” for Pluto throughout the science wing of my high school.  Something similar could be done with the children making up elegies and epitaphs.)


Mind the Gap, 2006 Best Summation of the Pluto problem in the US.

Kirkus Book Review Stars



Kirkus–“From the universe, the sequence narrows its focus to the galaxy, the solar system and then each body in turn, from the sun to poor demoted Pluto, and beyond. The verse is characteristically playful, wrapping itself around astronomical facts with ease. ”


Kirkus. Kirkus Reviews. 2007. (Vol. 75, No. 6.) Retrieved via CLCD at

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