How Come? Planet Earth

Book review by
Tanya Smith, Common Sense Media
How Come? Planet Earth Book Poster Image
Sometimes intriguing, sometimes unhelpful.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the uncomplicated writing incorporates humorous examples and comparisons to which kids can relate.

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What's the story?

What do you want to know? This is a useful sourcebook for anyone who has ever wondered how chewing gum is made, why dogs bark, and why rainbows arch. Decorated throughout with zany cartoon art, the book answers 125 questions posed by children from around the globe. The information is interesting but sometimes vague and incomplete.


Is it any good?

This book gets points for trying, and most entries will satisfy, if not sate, readers' curiosity. The book and its predecessor, How Come?, were written by the author of a syndicated newspaper column that answers questions from kids around the world. Younger readers will relate to questions and answers about cats purring and dogs barking, but adults will be interested in entries on high blood pressure and cholesterol. In between is a wide range of factoids explaining why people burp, sweat, and bruise.

Many of the illustrations are unsophisticated groaners, but kids will like them. The book does better when it sticks to cut-and-dried explanations such as how dinosaurs are named or how many eyes a fly has. When it pokes into more complicated concepts, the book's answers lack necessary depth, may be dry and dense, and may leave readers with even more questions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about curiosity. What questions would you ask the author to answer? Kids could try sending their questions to the author.

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