Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Sun, Moon and Stars" and a look at Mr. Roy G. Biv

"Sun, Moon and Stars" by Jeanette Smith1 is a staplebound book that was part of the Little Wonder Books series.2 This copy is a 1947 reprint of the 36-page volume, which was originally published in 1935.

The book, aimed at grade-school students, packs plenty of information into its relatively few pages.

Young readers, following the explorations of Polly, Ann and Billy3, learn about Orion's Belt, Polaris, the Milky Way, the phases of the moon, observatories, Bo├Âtes and much more.4

Here's an excerpt:
"Tell us about the stars now. Does it take them a year to go around the sun?" asked Polly.

"No, Polly," said Ann. "We live on the earth. The earth turns around. The earth goes around the sun. We are on the merry-go-round. We see the stars as we go around the sun."
The book also introduces the seven colors of the rainbow -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Roy G. Biv!

In fact, the book gives us a picture of Roy G. Biv...

Hmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about having an actual image to associate with Roy. He doesn't seem too happy about it, either. And what's up with his hair?

Then again, perhaps this illustration is better than some of the other ones that people have come up with for Mr. Biv, such as this one and this one.

1. Jeanette Smith was from the Southern Oregon State Normal School, which is now Southern Oregon University.
2. Other titles in the Little Wonder Books series from Charles E. Merrill Co. included "Policemen," "The Circus," "The Bakery," "Story of Coal," "Truck Farms," "Our Land of Machines," "Knighthood," "People Who Work for Us," and "Foods from Latin America."
3. Somewhat tangental: Speaking of child characters in vintage books, we ran across the 2010 book "Dick and Jane and Vampires" while we were out shopping today. Obviously inspired by "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters," the short book works because it keeps entirely with the spirit of the "Dick and Jane" readers and style of illustrations. A one-note joke, for sure, but it's a hoot.
4. We would like to do some more stargazing as a family, but could use a better spot to check out the skies. We might make a trip this summer to Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County, Pennsylvania, which is considered to have one of the darkest night skies on the East Coast, and is lauded by the International Dark-Sky Association.

1 comment:

  1. Are you sure Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies weren't inspired by Dick and Jane and Vampires??