Finding the Constellations is a great introduction to star-gazing, by the author of Curious George. With clear and concise explanations of concepts such as light years, star magnitude as well as updated information about the planets, H. A. Rey makes astronomy both fascinating and easy to learn. Rey creates side-by-side sky views–one with lines connecting the stars in the constellations–one without the lines, so that your child can practice finding the constellations when they are surrounded by other stars. In the back of the book Rey includes a guide to finding the planets, as well as a list of the first stars which rise in each month of the year.
Reviewed by Grace.
In this quirky graphic novel, Binky decides to venture out into the great unknown. His people leave the family space station (house) every day, and he wants to know what’s out there. After making all necessary preparations, Binky sets out to explore space (the backyard) and battle fierce aliens (bugs).This would be a fun book to read together and then share a trip into your own outdoor “space” to look for alien invaders! Be sure to check out some of the library’s many titles on insects and backyard critters to figure out just what those aliens really are. Some great books to start with are: Backyard Detectives: Critters Up Close by Nic Bishop, Night Science for Kids by Terry Krautwurst, Bugs: a Read and Do Book by Judith Moffat, Insectigations by Cindy Blobaum, and Pet Bugs by Sally Kneidel.
This is just the first adventure for Binky. He also stars in Binky Under Pressure and Binky to the Rescue.
Reviewed by Jessica
Here is a short rhyme that can be used in preschool and kindergarten storytimes. You can put the shapes on the magnet board as you say the rhyme. It was adapted from the book A Circle in the Sky by Zachary Wilson.
I see a circle in the sky, big and shining bright.
I have some shapes and want to build a rocket ship tonight.
I will use two rectangles: one for the rocket.
And one for its door, so I can go inside.
I will use a circle for the window, so I can see outside.
I will use a triangle for the top to point me to the sky.
I will use two diamond sings, so my rocket ship can fly.
On the bottom I will use a square to push my rocket into the air.
Goodbye! I will see you soon, when I get back from my trip to the moon!
Stellarium.org allows you to have your own planetarium show. This is a great web site where you can type in coordinates and see everything in the night sky. You can watch the stars, planets and satellites move across the sky as the night and day progress. This would be fun to watch from home or use in the classroom.
Here’s an exciting action rhyme you can do with any young child. The starting position is with hands overhead and fingers touching to make the tip of the rocketship, and after the countdown, the blastoff is up to you!
“Inside a rocket ship
Just enough room
Here comes the countdown:
Source by Tania Cowling
One fun idea to do with a group of children is “dancing comets,” and the only materials you need are music and crepe paper.
After reading Space Leftovers, which introduces kids to comets, asteroids and meteoroids, explain that they will actually be able to pretend to be a comet! While playing upbeat music, kids will love being able to trail their “comet tail” (crepe paper) all over the place.
Stars, by Mary Lyn Ray is a delightful picture book, and has appeal for a wide range of readers. It’s not a factual book about stars, but about imaginative ways you can see stars in your daily life. For example, did you ever think that when you blow on a ball of dandelion, “you blow a thousand stars into the sky?”
This would be the perfect feel-good book to read with your child before going out to star gaze in the evening.
Stop into the Manhattan Public Library and check out our “Space” Storytime box. Pictured here are just a few of the space-themed resources included in the pack.
We think your little astronaut will enjoy the rhymes, stories, and of course the fun puppet!
Star Seeker is a wonderfully colorful picture book that takes the reader on an imaginary journey through space. The rhyming text is focused on descriptively and imaginitively visiting the planets, so this book is best for a reader who loves to stretch her/his imagination.
The end of the book features a good amount of information that explains vocabulary such as asteroid, comet and constellation. It also includes a brief description of each planet and some background information about the Sun, Moon and stars. For example, did you know ancient Romans called the Sun “Sol?”
After reading this book, you could challenge your child to write a poem or rhyme about space, or a favorite planet!