Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old tags along with Horrible Harry on his trip to the moon, with Harriet Tubman as she frees 300 slaves on the Underground Railroad, and with Emmy as she explores the mystery of her incredible shrinking rat.
A sampling of this week’s books:
Horrible Harry Goes to the Moon by Suzy Kline (Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz)
The Eight-Year-Old’s latest discovery in the Horrible Harry franchise has Horrible Harry using a telescope purchase to launch an expedition to the moon. In true imaginative style, the illustrations show Harry in a glass-dome topped space suit. Fortunately, The Eight-Year-Old knows that’s artistic, not realistic, but in case your little one needs a refresher, no, all astronauts don’t fly in space with just their helmets on.
Girls Who Rocked the World by Michelle Roehm McCann and Amelie Welden
Girls Who Rocked the World is a collection of short biographies of women such as Harriet Tubman, Hatshepsut, Joan of Arc, Sacagawea, Mary Anning, and Anne Frank, whose actions as teenagers shaped their country and in some cases, history. Within these pages, you’ll find abolitionists, inventors, physicists, nurses, activists, warriors, and fossil hunters. There are fashion designers, actresses, ballerinas, poets, musicians, and sculptors. There are queens and pharaohs, professions closed to The Eight-Year-Old, but there are also novelists, archaeologists, doctors, and scientists — all professions still firmly on the table. The biographies are brief and engaging. Some literary liberties have been taken to make them so, but the authors tell their readers right up front that they have imagined the context around the factual events to keep their readers’ interest, and I’m ok with that.
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell (Illustrated by Jonathan Bean)
The day her parents inherited a fortune Emmy’s life became noticeably worse. Her parents, entranced by their new wealth, began taking long trips around the world, leaving Emmy under the care of a new, and not-terribly-kind nanny, Miss Barmy. The only creature who paid any attention to her at all is the class pet, a talking rat determined to seek fame and fortune in the giant world outside. But first, he has to talk Emmy into letting him out of his cage.
In the news:
- Map: Literally every goat in the United States (Wonkblog)
- Move over hackers, squirrels are the power grid’s greatest foe (Smithsonian.com)
- Five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn – all visible at once (USA Today)
- Astronomers say a Neptune-sized planet lurks beyond Pluto (Science)
(And by “astronomers” they mean Mike Brown, the guy who killed Pluto. If you haven’t read his memoir, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, by the way, you really should. It’s good enough to make me mostly stop being sentimental about Pluto’s lost planetary status.)