What we’re reading: Meet The Planets by Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin

The playgrounds are closed and the kids are climbing the walls, but one small silver lining of the pandemic is how clearly we can see the stars.

Apparently a reduction in pollution combined with less aircraft confusing matters means we can make out constellations much more clearly, while Venus has been sitting comfortably in view from Earth since Christmas.

And perhaps being trapped at home all day means we are more likely to be gazing wistfully up at the night sky too?

Baby Bookworm isn’t up quite late enough to reaps the rewards of this stargazing bounty but the boy does dream about what lies above us, asking his dad only the other day: “Can I go to Space when I’m older?”

Which makes Meet The Planets the perfect read for my budding astronaut, an expedition into the solar system that combines fascinating facts with engaging rhyme and utterly glorious artwork.

I’ll admit I had high expectations of this book beforehand, given the calibre of the author and illustrator pairing (no less than Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin). It did not disappoint.

Bethan’s distinctive visual style is made for this subject matter, with her signature monochrome look paired with bold neon brights. There’s something a bit retro about it, a hint of the 1960s Jetsons and Soviet Space Race propaganda posters.

The story sees a little girl dream of exploring the skies above before blasting off in her rocket with her pet dog to get a closer look.

Her expedition follows the order of the Solar System, starting with the Sun and moving through to Pluto, with a couple of moons thrown in for good measure.

Each spread focuses on one planet, with Caryl’s playful rhyme packed with information about the subject that children will just lap up, such as Mercury moving at 50km per second and Neptune’s freezing skies causing her to look blue.

Bonus points for the astronaut being female – although I’d expect nothing less of Caryl and Bethan, who always do their bit for smashing the gender stereotypes in a cool and classy way.

Baby Bookworm taken with it from the first read, pointing to the different planets and asking question – a sure sign of a new book about to go galactic.

In these challenging homeschooling days, I reckon you could legitimately tick the science lesson box by reading this one at bedtime.

Best of all, your child will have a blast enjoying an out-of-this-world adventure… without even having to leave the comfort of your home.

Meet The Planets by Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin is out now. £6.99 (paperback), Bloomsbury. Buy from Amazon

More inspiring reads…

8 of the best books starring the Moon

We love… Once Upon A Star by James Carter and Mar Hernandez

Bethan Woollvin shares her favourite five fairytale books

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