Books, Science/Math

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Older Than The Stars

Author: Karen C. Fox
Illustrator: Nancy Davis
Publication Info: Charlesbridge, 2010
Intended audience: Ages 7 and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book
Themes/topics: cosmology, evolution, science
Synopsis and opening: ”You are older than the dinosaurs. Older than the earth. Older than the sun and all the planets. You are older than the stars. You are as old as the universe itself.”
Karen C. Fox explains Big Bang Theory and evolution in a simple and child-friendly way. Her tale connects the reader and all the plants and animals on the Earth to the beginning of time when the Big Bang created the “bits” — the protons, neutrons and electrons — that became the building blocks of all elements and life. These elements are eternal, Fox explains. You breathe the same oxygen the dinosaurs breathed. Your fingernails contain carbon that might have been part of a plant. As she knits the tale together, she follows the format of “This is the House That Jack Built” to show how the Big Bang ultimately resulted in complex life.
Resources: BrainPOP has a fantastic animated cartoon that explains Big Bang Theory. You’ll need a free trial to access it. Several Web sites use balloons to explain Big Bang Theory. In this one, from Discovery Education, children blow up a balloon and measure distances between different objects marked on the balloon to see how the universe is expanding. DLTK has an activity for making your own universe in a baby food jar. It’s kind of like the snow globe activity I posted previously.
Why I like this book: I wish I had written this book. Karen C. Fox’s book is the perfect marriage of scientific fact, told simply and within a beautiful narrative framework.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

42 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: Older Than The Stars”

  1. This book sounds fabulous! I’m so happy that you find all these great non-fiction titles! I find myself wanting to read everything you post 🙂 Thanks so much for adding this to our list – I posted an “I wish I wrote that” book today too 🙂

  2. Wow, what skill, to simplify and explain all these evolutionary details in such a clear, fun way. I would love reading this, Kristen.

      1. I think the sidebars are a great choice too. For younger children, you can just read the poem, but for older children, you can read the more complex information.

  3. I love these nonfiction titles. Great choice for PPBF. I have a lot of, I wish I’d written that book”! Maybe someday some writer will post that about our books. I will definitely add this to my list. *waving*

  4. Great, another science book for older kids. Such a complex subject, but one that kids are interested in. I loved what you shared. I should read this book! Great choice.

  5. Narrative nonfiction is something I’ve been interested in writing for a long time. Thanks for such a great example.

  6. I am loving all of the non-fiction recommendations, because they are not usually ones that I pick up. This book sounds anything but boring, and I think my science-loving son will find it fascinating. Thanks, Kirsten!

  7. I will be picking this one up! Thank you for the recommendation. I have a hard time picking good non-fiction picture books, so it’s nice to have a place to go for ideas.

  8. What a fantastic book, loved that they used the Jack and Jill style writing. Love the bright colourful cover, wish this was around when I was at school, then maybe I would have taken more of an interest in science. Thankyou Kirsten for adding it to our list.

  9. This would be a great book for any elementary classroom or homeschooling family! Great pick, Kirsten…and I love all the resources you provided. 🙂 I should read it for myself…I know I would learn a lot.

    I’ve heard the expression as, “It’s not the book, it’s the hook.”…which I guess is what pitches are all about…there is so much out there…if you want your book to get noticed…there has to be something that GRABS the attention.

  10. Vivian, this is a fantastic book for EVERYONE. I have to admit, it helped me brush up on my Big Bang Theory. The concept of matter being recycled over and over again was a new one for me, but cool. I breathe dinosaur air!

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