- How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland
In the latest of Hartland’s museum series titles (How the Sphinx Got to the Museum, BCCB 12/10), students on a class field trip learn what happened to the Peekskill Meteorite from its fiery descent through Earth’s atmosphere to cozy installation at the American Museum of Natural History. The explanation kicks off in the teacher’s speech bubble, and then continues in the main text with a discussion of asteroids, meteors, and meteorites, and eventually launches into a cumulative “House That Jack Built”–styled narration of this particular space scrap’s encounter with Earth. The meteorite is barked at by a dog in Kentucky, spotted by burger eaters in Virginia and high school football fans in Pennsylvania before it crashes into the trunk of a teenager’s Chevy Malibu in Peekskill, New York. Nobody’s hurt, but the police, firefighters, geologists, museum curators, cosmologists, and an exhibits team all take a hand in identification, procurement, and interpretation of the meteorite before it is sliced up and settled in at museums and labs. The sheer strangeness of a rock making an interplanetary journey into a parked car will rivet a young science audience, and Hartland’s combination of support information and zippy, slightly askew cartoon artwork are a pleasure for group sharing. Even the oft-neglected end matter is worth visiting, as it takes on issues of ownership (yes, the teenager owns the meteorite, and it’s made her enough money to replace the car), possible reasons for the meteor’s diversion off course, and the likelihood of other collisions (millions of tons of space debris daily—eek!) This will make a fine classroom readaloud, but perhaps a not so settling bedtime story.