Give me some space! by Philip Bunting

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A bemused Una looks at the readers from the font cover, dressed in a hand me down space suit, Mum’s old Ugg boot, Neil’s home (Neil is a goldfish) on her head and her old ski gloves, floating about in the dark blue space a long way from Earth. Since birth she has been focussed on becoming an astronaut and going off into space, a far more interesting place than the planet she lives on. After several failed attempts she is there, moving from one planet to another, checking each out, seeing if she can discover one that supports life. And each is scrutinised: Mercury moves so quickly that each of her years is equivalent to 88 Earth days, Saturn has no life, but one of its many moons has its own atmosphere, Jupiter, 11 times the size of Earth is all gas, Venus has an average temperature of 465 degrees Celsius, Uranus is shrouded with stinking layers of clouds of hydrogen sulphide,  and Neptune the one furthest away from Earth has a temperature of minus 214 degrees Celsius. All planets are exposed as unsuitable to support life, so she sits on the Kuiper belt and eats her sandwiches. She spots a blue planet in the distance. What could it be? Kids will explode with laughter as they recognise the planet that is habitable, and join with the author in his plea for us to look after it.

This entrancing trip around our Solar System will intrigue and delight all readers, from the youngest to those reading it to their kids. The information given is readily absorbed, illuminating and funny in a way not usually used as a vehicle to describe the planets.

Themes: Space, Space travel, Imagination, Planets, Solar system, Earth.

Fran Knight