By: Kelly Kizer Whitt
Illustrated by: Laurie Allen Klein
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: June, 2012
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 20, 2012
Kelly Kizer Whitt’s Solar System Forecast is a fun ‘out of this world’ read that appropriately targets her intended audience of 4-9 year-olds.
Ms. Whitt has a natural flair when it comes to subliminally injecting learning via an adventurous space travel reading experience. She guides the reader on a journey of celestial travel and teaches the young reader about our solar system. Each page is devoted to a particular planet and to captivate the reader, she explains the uniqueness of each planet by outlining a weather report that is characteristic of the planet she has devoted the page to. Prior to take off, she provides a welcome message to her little reader ‘space explorer’. The narrator assumes the role of weatherman and instructs the young reader to sit back and enjoy the ride. She plants her first of a series of educational messages by describing the varied climates and conditions they will encounter along the way: ‘…This is your weatherman with today’s solar system forecast: hot, cold, windy, calm, rainy, dry, cloudy, clear, and everything in between!...’
I found this book to be captivating on two points: 1) Ms. Whitt has provided just enough detail with age appropriate dialect which makes the story understandable for her young audience; and 2) Laurie Allen Klein’s illustrations have a beautiful balance of warmth together with eye-catching vibrancy to hold a child’s interest throughout the entire story. With this formula, they have successfully collaborated in developing an engaging story while achieving the intent: to educate their readership.
As the story nears its end, Ms. Whitt prepares her space travelers for the end of their voyage and leaves them with a lasting memory of the journey. The book, however, does not end on this note. Ms. Whitt reserved the final few pages for an educational section that recaps what her audience has just experienced with age appropriate learning activities. She poses questions that prompt the reader to engage in discussion toward what they learned which is critical for this particular age group. There is no question toward the concept that reading is a learned behavior. If the work is framed in a light of enjoyment and plants a seed of a pleasant learning experience, it is inevitable the child will want to come back for more of the same. The paring of Ms. Whitt’s words and Ms. Klein’s illustrations is a winning combination for Solar System Forecast.
Quill Says: Looking forward to the next adventure!