Title: 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.