I'm working on expanding my book club choices for my younger readers to include more picture books and chose a title by Jason Chin that we haven't used before - Gravity.
Bold, simple text accompanies lush illustrations to explain the concept of gravity. A small boy, complete with superhero cape and toys, is shown playing on the beach. As gravity disappears, all the toys (including an astronaut figure with brown skin tones) float out to space. Illustrating the different properties of gravity, the toys float past the moon, closer to the sun, and eventually, as gravity is restored, plummet to earth and land in a surprised family's backyard lemonade stand.
Chin's full page illustrations are sometimes divided into panels, showing the different effects gravity has on earth and in space and how it affects everything around us. The final spread includes a variety of illustrated facts about gravity, from the different between mass and weight to how gravity is an attractive force and how it affects the solar system.
A final end page shows the original boy from the opening catching a lemonade pitcher from the sisters' backyard stand.
This would make a great read-aloud, but it also works well for beginning readers to tackle on their own, one of the reasons I chose it for book club. The simple, bold text includes only one or two words per page. My beginning readers can sound these out while following the concept through the picture. An older reader will be needed to read the information in the back, although it's clearly explained for younger children to understand. Chin's humorous take on gravity, showing things floating through the air and then falling to earth, will catch the attention of young listeners and readers and give them a laugh while they learn a new science concept.
Verdict: If you missed this when it was originally published, now is the time to fill in the hole in your collection and purchase it! I'm using it for book club in September 2017 and, once I get the kids past the stigma of picking up a picture book, I think it will be popular.
ISBN: 9781596437173; Published 2014 by Roaring Brook; Purchased for the library