Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet

illus. by Jessica Lanan. 48p. bibliog. chron. further reading. websites. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250155337.
RedReviewStarGr 2–5—Beginning with the insights of astronomers such as Lucretius and Giordano Bruno and continuing with the observations of a fictional young black girl from the present day, this illuminating book examines the possibility of life on other planets. Manley presents scientific certainties and theories alongside the child and her family's trip to a museum. One spread features text about Earth-like exoplanets paired with illustrations of the girl gazing off open-mouthed at the promising habitable planet surface that exists, for her, beyond the walls of the museum. On some pages, she muses, "If someday we do find evidence of beings like ourselves, what could we do? …We could send them art and poetry and music." The enthusiastic main character lightens what could be weighty scientific information, providing an entry point for newcomers. Lanan's pleasing, watercolorlike artwork moves between expansive visions of outer space and panels that highlight key concepts.
VERDICT An ideal addition for libraries building or updating STEAM collections.

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