Star of the Party: The Solar System Celebrates! by Jan Carr, illustrated by Juana Medina. Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781524773120, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? In this fictional picture book, each of the planets are characters, and they are planning a birthday party for their friend Sun. Kid-appropriate humor and jokes appear throughout the story, and will be enjoyed by adult readers as well – like Pluto, who is invited but must sit with the other dwarf planets at the “kid table.” Each planet has their own personality, though Earth, Mercury, and Jupiter come across the most strongly. Many facts about each planet are interspersed throughout the book, and the end of the book includes a list of websites for readers to check for more details, as well as updated information. (They note that just “while this book was being written, astronomers discovered 10 more moons orbiting Jupiter, and 20 more of Saturn!”) The illustrations, with facial expressions, arms, glasses, and party hats, definitely add personality to the planets and humor to the story.
Anything you did not like about the book. It was kind of hard to know which planet was which without looking back at the beginning illustrations. It would have been helpful (and would match the theme) for each planet to wear a nametag!
To whom would you recommend this book? Children who like the solar system and planets will love this book! It would also be great as a funny read aloud to go along with learning about the planets in school. It would especially appeal to readers who like Pluto Gets the Call (Rex) or other books with anthropomorphized characters like The Brain is Kind of a Big Deal (Seluk) or Ice Boy (Stein).
Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham, Massachusetts
Date of review: May 22, 2021