Saturn for My Birthday

Saturn for My Birthday

By: John McGranaghan
Illustrated by: Wendy Edelson
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Publication Date: June 2008
ISBN: 978-1934359136
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2010

Jeffrey smiled as he came into the kitchen where his father was at the espresso machine. The curly mopped pair were surrounded by animals, including a white cockatoo that had settled in on his Dad’s shoulder. Birthday time was coming up and much to his father’s relief, he didn’t ask for another pet, but what he did want just about took the curl out of his Dad’s hair. The animals scattered, milk flew up in the air and peas scattered across the table when Jeffrey said that he wanted “Saturn!” Yes, yes, yes! He wanted not only Saturn, but “all forty-seven” moons that surrounded the planet.” That wasn’t asking for much, and of course the planet would have to be ordered immediately to get there any time soon.

Mrs. Cassini had told the class all about the planet and because it was “800 million miles” away it was going to take a while. Jeffrey had all kinds of plans for Saturn, a planet he knew all about. It was very cold at “about 200 degrees below zero,” but he had plans to warm it up. He imagined he could put the planet in the tub and wash the rings, he decided Saturn could light up his room at night, he could put Titan, the “biggest moon” beside his bed . . . yup, he had big plans for Saturn. He imagined he could take it to school, but his Dad interrupted his thoughts, by saying, “Jeffrey, Saturn is not a toy. It’s a planet.” Jeffrey began to stomp his foot and pout. Would he be able to get Saturn or was he going to have to get something else he didn’t want?

This delightful tale is a wonderful way to gently absorb factual material on a planet without having to memorize facts. The beautiful, colorful supporting illustrations meshed perfectly with the text and were excellent visual aids to the story. For example, while Jeffrey was telling his Dad about the major moons, Titan, Pandora, Calypso, Janus, Tethys, and Mimas, the reader can figure out the largest to the smallest by putting on their thinking caps. This book is very vibrant and alive and shouts out at the reader just asking to be read time and time again. In the back of the book there is a section on “Solar System Fun Facts,” “Saturn Fun Facts,” a section discussing the planet’s size, additional assorted facts, and a recipe for “Edible Rings.” Additional teaching/learning resources for this book can be found on the Sylvan Dell Publishing website.

Quill says: For a fun, factual, and fascinating learning experience about Saturn this is one book you can count on for an enjoyable reading experience!

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