Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars

  • Author: Douglas Florian
  • Illustrator: Douglas Florian
  • Year Published: 2007
  • ISBN: 9780152053727

Science Topics

Minimum Suggested Grade Level

Maximum Suggested Grade Level


This interactive book contains a collection of whimsical yet informative space poems, along with realistic painted illustrations of spacial objects.


  • Appropriateness: High
  • Authority: High
  • Accuracy: High
  • Liteary Artistry: High
  • Appearance: High


Does the book foster development of processes?

Yes, the book fosters the development of the processes of classification, prediction, and observation. Teachers are able to ask what the students are able to observe from the pictures, as well as what the poem is about. Furthermore, some pages in the book are cut in a certain manner; such that students can relate what was on the previous page to the next page. For instance, there is a section in the book about the solar system. On the right side of this poem, there is an illustration of the solar system, with the planets that orbit around the sun (i.e. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, etc.). However, for the space that Uranus should be in, there is a cut-out in the shape of a circle so that the reader can see a part of the next page; this part is the planet Uranus that is illustrated on the next page. Features such as these encourage the student to observe and relate what they learned from the previous page to the incoming page(s).

Does the book provide an opportunity for children to ask and answer their own questions?

Yes, children can predict what they think the poem will be about as they view the illustrations. Then, after reading the poem they can answer their own question and more. For instance, if they asked themselves, "I see a big painting of the sun on this page, I wonder what it will tell me about the sun?" (after reading the poem, they would learn amusing facts that they might have never known about the sun; such as, it is 93 million miles from Earth and is 4.6 billion years old).

Does the book encourage children to think for themselves?

Although the book does not explicitly tell or ask students to think for themselves, the book naturally does this because of the realistic illustrations on each page that pique interest and engagement by part of the student. Students may start thinking, "what do these pictures represent?" and "what will the poem be about based on these colorful illustrations?" This fosters the literacy development of making text-to-illustration connections.

Is the science topic addressed in ways that are appropriate to the lesson?

Yes, the content is appropriate to the lesson.

Is the content based on sound scientific principles? Is it accurate?

Yes, the content is based on sound principles. For example, it mentions the planets orbiting the sun in a "somewhat circular path." Furthermore, it states that "Pluto was a planet. But now it doesn't pass. Pluto was a planet. They say it's lacking mass"; this depicts the nature of science that is open to revision according to new findings. The book is also accurate since it appears to contain updated scientific information (i.e. in the illustration of the solar system, Pluto is not considered a planet).

Does the book distinguish between fact and fiction?

This book is factual, so there is no need to distinguish.

Are the illustrations clear and accurate?

Yes, the illustrations are vibrant, hyper-realistic paintings. The colors and shapes are recognizable and overall accurate to how spacial objects appear. However, the cover of the book does not portray the physical appearance of the stars in an accurate way, since they appear to have a generic cartoon five-pointed star shape.

Is the book written at the level of your students?

Yes, the book is appropriate for students grades 2 to 5. This is because there are a variety of poems, each varying in length and complexity of vocabulary. A specific poem may be selected according to the desired grade level, or illustrations in the book may be used to facilitate understanding of the poems.

Is there a multicultural component? Is it free from stereotyping?

There is no multicultural component, but it is free from stereotyping because there are no people or cultures represented in the book.

Is the book free from gender bias?

Yes, the book is free from gender bias. There are no female or male characters in the book.

Does the book show the close association between science and other disciplines?

It does not appear as if there is an explicit connection made between science and other disciplines. However, looking at it closely there is some vocabulary that is highlighted, and this is accompanied by illustrations. In this way, it seems as though there is encouragement of learning  the literacy of science; in other words, a relationship between language arts and science. There is also a connection made between foreign languages and science, as seen on a page where the topic of the sun is addressed. On the edges of the sun illustration, there is written text in twelve different languages on how to say the sun (i.e. sun, sol, sole, son, son, share, zun). Another association that the book makes every once in awhile is that connections can be made between space and everyday life. For instance, there is a part in the book that says, "the universe is every place, including all the empty space... All persons throughout history--Including you, Including me."

Does the book present a positive attitude toward science and technology?

Yes. The physical presentation of the book itself is engaging and interactive. Students will be persuaded to view science in a positive light due to the fact that there are exciting, vibrantly colored illustrations throughout the book, as well as entertaining and catchy poems. On another note, there is some technology incorporated in the book, due to the fact that some pages have physical cutouts thus making the book more interactive and out of the norm for a traditional expository text.