Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery

Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery

Spring 2013 Non-Fiction
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Author: Margaret Weitekamp
Author: David DeVorkin
Illustrator: Diane Kidd
ISBN: 9781419704239
Hardcover Price: $16.95

Pluto's Secret is a picture book published in association with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The book uses Pluto, formerly known as the ninth planet, as an entry point for exploring the way scientists make discoveries and then, sometimes, debunk them.

Pluto's Secret fits an introduction to the scientific method and a history of science lesson into an engaging narrative. Writers Margaret A. Weitekamp and David DeVorkin turn scientists like Percival Lowell, who first suggested that a ninth planet must exist, into memorable characters. Illustrator Diane Kidd works in an informative, but gently funny style that is reminiscent of Schoolhouse Rock. The book's Pluto is a spunky character who enjoys dancing with his moons Charon, Hydra, Nix, P4, and P5. He sticks out his tongue ("Yuck!") on one page while scientists try to name him, and cheers when observers finally determine that he is not a planet.

Pluto's story demonstrate why a scientist must never take new discoveries at face value. Though appearing to be at first, Pluto is not a planet. This is not simply because of the odd tilt of its orbit, but because it does not travel alone. Several other objects revolve around the sun in stride with Pluto.

For those who wish to know more about Pluto, the end pages offer information about important people and terms, suggested reading for young people, and a bibliography.

Parents' Choice   ©2013 Parents' Choice

Look for this product at:
Abrams Books for Young Readers

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