- Heart on Pluto by Karl Jones
Jones, Karl Heart on Pluto; illus. by Andrew J. Ross. Penguin Workshop, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780593096291 $8.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780593096307 $8.99 Reviewed from digital galleys Ad 4-7 yrs
The New Horizons space probe narrates its encounter with dwarf planet Pluto and one of its most crowd-pleasing discoveries, a heart-shaped region whose form is amazingly similar to our iconic symbol for heart/love. The book is pretty stingy on details, mentioning neither the key dates of the New Horizons mission (only that it took nine years to get from Earth to Pluto), nor its current location beyond our solar system, nor what that big heart might actually be. Instead, it emotes ("It's so cute!"; "It's hard to feel lonely when there's so much love way out here") and leaves the explanation for the last of the end matter fast facts ("The 'heart' on Pluto is a [End Page 479] heart-shaped lake composed of frozen nitrogen"). Ross' cartoon scenes meld sophisticated texturing with a Tomorrowland vibe, offering visual references to how very tiny this voyager is amid giant planets (even Pluto looks pretty imposing) and the black expanse of space. Preand elementary school teachers who save the "heart's" true nature for a big reveal might use this to kickstart a science unit. Or maybe as a quirky launch for a classroom Valentines exchange?