Have you looked into nonfiction picture books about the solar system for preschoolers lately? There’s a trend to use less-than-serious illustrations to capture the reader’s attention, for example images of the earth, moon, sun, and other planets with expressive faces, mixed with text that contains serious science vocabulary, facts, and concepts.
At a recent STEM story time for preschoolers, I read Nerdy Babies: Space by Emmy Kastner.
Follow the “Nerdy Baby” astronauts as they travel into space (floating), orbit around the sun, go back to the moon, then discover each of the planets in the solar system, with one significant fact noted about each.
The format is question and answer. For example:
Do you love the moon?
Earth sure does!
They travel around space together.
The pacing, vocabulary, and information presented all work perfectly for preschoolers in the 4-5 year old range.
The only thing that was off-putting was that the author included the Nerdy Baby branding in the text, which starts with:
“Hello, Nerdy Babies!”
Preschoolers might not like to be called babies (or nerdy), so decide how you want to deal with that part.
Overall, Nerdy Babies: Space is a sweet, well-paced introduction to our solar system.
Find the coloring sheet at the author’s website. Color the planets, then cut them out. Use the planets to make puppets (tape to craft stick), a solar system mobile (tape string to back and hang), or create a solar system poster to mount on the wall.
Series: Nerdy Babies
Board book: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 7, 2019)
Our second book is Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.
On the surface this picture book looks similar to the one above. There’s a moon with a sweet face on the cover. Open it up and begin to read, however, and you’ve entered an entirely different world, one more appropriate for older children.
First of all, Moon! is narrated by the Moon (in first person). Next you will find some big numbers.
Average distance between Earth and me: 238,855 miles.
There’s also a summary or the most recent ideas about how the moon formed when a planet-like rock the size of Mars crashed into the Earth.
On the other hand, there’s a lighthearted discussion of why cows can’t really jump over the moon.
Overall, Moon! is for serious young readers who enjoy learning science facts. However, it might also be a good choice for older reluctant readers who will be sucked in by the more creative aspects.
If you enjoy this book, check out the others in the series, Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, and Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield.
Also, check out our STEM Story Time space activities,
and be sure to visit our growing list of children’s books about the moon and lunar landings
plus our list of children’s books about planets and the solar system at Science Books for Kids.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (June 11, 2019)