Elem. – Stella, Star Explorer

Miller, Kelly Leigh. Stella, Star Explorer. Simon & Schuster, 2022. Unpaged. $18.99. 978-1-534-49767-2. Grades PK-2.

Stella is fascinated with space and sick of Earth. She builds a rocket and takes her dog Luna on a voyage of discovery. They meet two aliens who need help finding the planet just right for them. Stella the expert steps right in, acting as a real estate agent of space. She shows the two aliens each planet (skipping Earth), noting a special feature of each (Neptune is more than five times colder than the North Pole; Jupiter has seventy-nine moons; Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system; although Mercury is closest to the sun). When the only planet left is Earth, Stella grudgingly introduces them. The aliens ask Stella to show them everything about Earth, and in doing so, she realizes that if every planet is special, why wouldn’t Earth be? Seeing her planet through the aliens’ eyes gives Stella a new appreciation for Earth, so that it becomes her favorite planet.

THOUGHTS: This is a clever way to learn about the planets and, like Stella, learn to appreciate Earth. This could be a great opener for learning about the planets and for caring for the Earth.  

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – Mars! Earthlings Welcome (Series NF)

McAnulty, Stacy. Mars! Earthlings Welcome. Henry Holt and Company, 2021. 978-1-250-25688-1. $18.99. 40 p. Grades Pre K-2.

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years. 2017. 978-1-250-10808-1.
Sun! One in a Billion. 2018. 978-1-250-19932-4.
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend. 2019. 978-1-250-19934-8.
Ocean! Waves for All. 2020. 978-1-250-10809-8.

The fifth book in the “Our Universe” series is about Mars. This nonfiction read, disguised as a fiction book, is a fun and informational read for those that love the solar system and the planets. All of the books in this series are told from the perspective of the subject, so in this case Mars is the author of this book, with the help of McAnulty (of course!). This book is attractively illustrated and reads like a fiction picture book but is filled with informational text. This series is terrific for those reluctant non-fiction readers.

THOUGHTS: I LOVE this series! Sun! One in a Billion was a PA Young Reader’s Choice Award selection this past year, and the students loved it. They really enjoyed reading all of the books in this series. Lovers of books about space will enjoy these books, but they will also appeal to all readers.

523.43 Mars          Krista Fitzpatrick, PSLA Member