MARS by Seymour Simon – Review for TWU course

BIBLIOGRAPHY Simon, Seymour. 1987. MARS.  New York, NY: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0688065848.

PLOT SUMMARY
Non-fiction book whose text and photographs give factual detail on the planet Mars.


CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Seymour Simon has won numerous awards and has 200 highly acclaimed science books published.  Over half these books have been named “Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association.  Obviously, he’s credible and has his facts straight. 

MARS is a photo essay style book that took my breath away with the pictures and the facts that were made so  understandable, relating them to things we can grasp and understand.  To relay size, Simon says that “if the Earth were hollow, seven planets the size of Mars could fit inside.”  Tidbits like this make it easy to understand and Simon continues this throughout the book, making it such that children can learn and understand easily.

He touches on aliens/martians and the debate if they exist, concluding that scientists are still uncertain.  One thing that stands out that I learned, is that Mars was named by the Romans for their god of war, since the red color made the Romans think of blood and war.
A very easy to read and understand book, children will find this book enjoyable with the phenomenal and breathtaking pictures as well as text that is engaging.  I had not considered reading this at storytime in the past, but find that I have this book on my mind and am considering the dialogic reading that will emerge. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.


REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “The text in each provides basic statistics on its subject (e.g., size, orbit, rotation, moons, rings, atmosphere, surface, etc.) as well as information on the exploration to date of each planet. Once again, although the texts are serviceable, it is the full-color NASA photos that are the main attraction.”

BOOKLIST: “In the same handsome format as Simon’s other books on the planets, this volume offers a timely update of knowledge and speculation about the red planet.”

CONNECTIONS

In kicking off a unit on the solar system, Simon’s books could be used as an introduction.  As a whole, his collection carries great impact via the pictures. MAGNIFICENT MARS by Ken Crosell would be another book full of phenomenal pictures of Mars that would pair well.


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