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XO, EXOPLANET by Deborah Underwood


by Deborah Underwood ; illustrated by Jorge Lacera

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-7595-5743-7
Publisher: Little, Brown

What’s the difference between a planet and an exoplanet? Depends on your point of view.

Lacera kits Mercury out with a winged helmet, Neptune with a pool toy, and the other major planets (plus Pluto, for, the author admits, sentimental reasons) with like regalia, plus faces, adding jocular notes to this planetary parable on proper perspective. The action begins when the planets spot a new one orbiting another sun and send it a welcoming letter. Alas, hardly has this developed into a regular correspondence than a sharp difference of opinion arises—both sides insisting that no, they’re not the exoplanets, or, as Mars puts it: “Exoplanet SCHMECKSOPLANET! We’re planets!” A passing comet breaks the stalemate by pointing out that Earth looks like a big planet to Mercury but a small one to Jupiter and that Mars is hot compared to Uranus but cold next to Venus, causing the planets to realize that “It all depends on how you look at things.” One apologetic letter later, interstellar amity is restored. Underwood doesn’t make the underlying point about the value of tolerating differences here on Earth explicit, but even younger audiences should get the memo…when they are not giggling at the sight of the planets playing poker while they wait or Jupiter’s many smiling moons—or, more soberly, taking in the prodigious amount of space trash floating about. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rollicking reminder to reserve judgment before traveling in another’s orbit.

(Picture book. 6-8)