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Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System

by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Other authors: John Rocco (Illustrator)

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This is a fairly simple examination of how theories of the solar system have evolved over time. While there is nothing really out of the ordinary, it could be a nice introduction to younger readers, especially to show how science is based on evidence known at the time; as more is known, the related theories and ideas change with it. I particularly like how the author mentions that our ideas about the solar system will continue to change as we learn more about it (her example of Pluto likely will ring true for older readers). She also includes a succinct timeline at the end, which mentions specific names that were left out of the actual book. ( )
  mikeknoth | Jul 20, 2017 |
The prominent message of this informational book was that human improvements and knowledge occurs when we learn from our mistakes, along with a goal to inform. I personally enjoyed the book for two main reasons; the author takes a difficult topic and successfully makes it into an interesting story that kept me hooked as a reader and the author’s strategic use of diagrams, timelines, and illustrations. The author recites important facts in a clever way, for example, adding dialogue on page 17 to help explain how astrologists exiled Pluto as a planet, “Astronomer took a vote. “”No,”” they said, “”Pluto is just a dwarf planet.”” Also, after explaining a human mistake, such as when humans thought the Earth was the center of the universe on page 7, the author repeatedly ends with a “Boy, were they wrong about our solar system” which reinforces to the reader the relevance of the title and message of the story. The author also mentions laws discovered by famous people, such as Isaac Newton, but does not mention their names directly in the story, but on a timeline located at the end of the book. I believed this to be a benefit because it forces the reader to research further beyond the book. I also enjoyed the author including illustrations and labeling the process of a putting a probe on Mars. For example, When the probe lands on mars, “A bumpy landing”, we see an illustration of a collection of balloons to help cushion the probes landing. ( )
  thodge3 | Feb 24, 2017 |
We were very wrong about the world beyond the stars but with new discoveries we have come very far. I enjoyed this book. It was a great informational text that did not lose my attention due to the awesome graphics by John Rocco. The book takes you on the journey throughout history and the innovations and discoveries that Man has made regarding the solar system. It looks more like a comic book with the integrated illustrations with the text. And to make it a little more special it tells the reader that one day they may find a new discovery about what the stars will hold. I think the moral of this story is to never stop asking questions and digging for the truth. There once was a time when everyone thought the earth was flat and now there could be life on other planets! ( )
  Sberry6 | Nov 16, 2016 |
"Boy, Were We Wrong about the Solar System" written by Kathleen Kudlinski, is about the history of and theories surrounding space exploration. The author has great illustrations and gives such a wonderful explanation of the history of space as humans have learned it. She also lists a brief timeline history of how we discovered space etc..at the end of the story. A great activity to do with students for this book would be to have them draw their favorite planet and list one characteristic about that planet. Another activity would be to have the students write a passage about what they think it would be like to travel to space. ( )
  ashlynnfoy | Sep 7, 2016 |
After reading and greatly enjoying Kathleen V. Kudlinski's Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, which set out some of the ways in which earlier generations of scientists and thinkers got it wrong, when it came to prehistoric life, I immediately added this follow-up title to my tbr shelf. A general overview of the progression of astronomical knowledge, from the days when people believed the earth was flat to the time when they knew better, from their belief that the earth was at the center of the cosmos, to the idea that it was the sun around which everything orbited, this book succeeds in highlighting the idea (central to both books) that scientific thinking must keep pace with new evidence, and be flexible enough to change, when change is warranted.

Unfortunately, although Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System! does succeed at this primary goal, it is nowhere near as strong a title as its predecessor, in other respects. It's not that Kudlinski gets her facts wrong - some reviewers have chided her for incorrectly claiming that Neptune was discovered before Uranus, but if one examines her time-line, it quickly becomes evident that she is aware of the correct chronology (Uranus discovered in 1781, Neptune in 1846) - but that her main narrative, in addition to being rather vague about dates and scientists' names, is rather misleading when it comes to the sequence of various discoveries. She never actually claims that Neptune was discovered first, it's just that Neptune's discovery comes before the discovery of Uranus in the narrative, and there are no dates (except in the time-line at the rear) to clarify the matter. Similarly, the astronomers and scientists all remain anonymous, even though their stories are quite well known, thereby robbing the young reader of the chance (again, while reading the main narrative) of making possible connections to other material they may have studied.

It's unfortunate, because I do genuinely like the didactic purpose here, but these flaws, although of organization rather than of fact, detract enough from the book that I wouldn't really recommend it as a science title for younger readers. Those looking to reinforce the idea that science is a field that must always be open to new evidence are advised to look to Kudlinski's first title in this vein, while those looking for good books about the cosmos for this age group, will undoubtedly find titles such as Seymour Simon's Our Solar System helpful. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 19, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathleen V. Kudlinskiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rocco, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525469796, Hardcover)

Some people used to think that Earth was smack-dab in the middle of the universe, with all the stars and planets held in the sky by giant glass balls. Boy, were they wrong! In this follow-up to the award-winning Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, Kathleen Kudlinski and John Rocco look at the mistakes, mishaps, and creativity that are part of scientific discovery. From the first humans wondering about the night sky to the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status, this book is an entertaining and informative look at how scientific theories change over time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:05 -0400)

An informative look at how scientific theories have changed over time concerning the solar system.

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