Up, up and away by Tom McLaughlin

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408870150
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Experimentation. Science. Space. This picture book will initiate lots of discussions about what makes up a planet, how they are made, what we can see in the night sky and so on, as Orson makes his own planet, but then has to make a tough decision.
Orson loves to make things and one day decides to make something quite out of the ordinary: a planet. He collects together some rocks with some water and metal, and gathers as much empty space as he can. His next quest is for a big bang so he gathers some balloons and finds it makes the planet with ease. So there it is right in his bedroom, but it looks unhappy, so Orson tries to do things with his planet to make it happy. He reads all he can about it and so begins work cleaning it, feeding it, dusting it and tidying the oceans. But then it is so happy it begins to grow, and attracts a whole lot of things to its surface.
Orson notices that the planet has become sad again, so decides that the best thing to do is to let it go.
Sometimes this is a hard decision to make, but readers will empathise with Orson and his decision, comparing it with some they have had to make themselves.
Another theme touched on in the story is that of the environment and how it can be protected. Orson's regime of cleaning his planet will touch a nerve with some children, understanding that we have not been good custodians of our planet and there is a need for more effort to ensure its preservation.
Fran Knight