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Greetings from Planet Earth

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  141 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
An extraordinary debut novel from the award-winning author of THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS and WALT WHITMAN.

If you had one minute to describe life on Earth, what would you say? It's 1977, and Theo and his class are creating a golden record inspired by the one Voyager 2 will carry into space as a greeting from Earth. But as Theo searches for an original answer to his
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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Bill Prosser
Aug 20, 2007 Bill Prosser rated it it was amazing
A bit off beat, but I liked it a lot. Lots of great discussion can come out of it, on many topics. The book has great characters and took me a while to figure out, but I wanted to keep reading to the end. Interesting family dynamics, Viet Nam War, Space Race, lots of topics.
A great package. It's 1977, and Theo loves science. Voyager 2 is about to be launched, with its golden record as a message to whomever might be out in space. Theo's teacher is inspired to create this assignment: what is the most important thing about the Earth? The kids all have different ideas about what they would include in their own space message, but Theo becomes confused when he tries to choose just ONE thing. Partly as a result of thinking about these big questions ("Who are we?"; "Where ...more
Mary Ann
Aug 19, 2010 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Theo can’t stop thinking about the Voyager 2 space probe, about to launch in 1977, but he also can’t stop thinking about his dad who hasn’t come back from the Vietnam War and is presumed missing in action. As Theo starts asking questions, he begins unravelling family secrets and thinking about his own place in the world.
Margaret Dilloway
Sep 20, 2016 Margaret Dilloway rated it it was amazing
Terrific book, dealing with the heartbreaking topic of the aftermath of the Vietnam war and its effects on one family, in a serio-comic way.
Brian Park
Feb 05, 2015 Brian Park rated it really liked it
The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years, but how would you describe it if you had just one minute? Greetings from Planet Earth is a book that dares to ask, "who are we?" Although written in 2007, Greetings From Planet Earth takes place in 1977 in the aftermaths of the Vietnam War. Barbara Kerley's bold telling of a young boy and his troubled family is a profoundly real insight on life with all of its rough edges. I recommend to anyone looking for a book that provokes thought and challeng ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for

If you had one minute of sound and one picture to describe the very best thing about being a human on Earth, what would you do? That's Theo's assignment, and he has two weeks to figure it out.

It's 1977 and the Voyager Probes are due to launch soon. They will be the most extensive space exploration mission yet. Aboard one of the probes is a golden record, full of sounds from earth, that will be broadcast into space, intended as a greeting toward al
Mar 01, 2009 Kathy rated it it was amazing
You meet Theo and immediately sympathize with him. It's his birthday and his sister gets him some pimple cream. His grandma gets him a gift from his dad, but they never talk about his dad. He knows that when he was younger, his dad went to war. He doesn't know what happens after that.

His grandma secretly offers to tell him more about his dad if he can keep it a secret from his mom. Which means that this is not going to be good news. But he agrees because bad news is better than no news. He lear
Ryan S.
May 16, 2016 Ryan S. rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
Everything comes together in just the right way in this book about a 12 y.o. boy named Theo trying to come to terms with his dad's disappearance during the Vietnam War. Theo is a curious boy, a thinker who likes to ponder and to make things fit together, one step at a time, just as with the models his dad has "sent" every year for his birthday.

Theo's investigations into his dad's past weave together with his teacher's assignment to create a one-minute "golden record" of the most important thing
Jan 03, 2013 7706abdullah rated it liked it
I thought this book was ok. The reason why I didn't like this book is when the main character Theo found the solution to one of his conflict, it wasn't as suspenseful, dramatic as I thought it would be. I think it would have been ok for a fifth grade, but for a seventh grader, it could use some more suspense and drama.

Theo has big question: What should he choose for his voyager2 question? Theo has a science project that requires a picture and a 1min recording of something that represents Earth.
Oct 21, 2015 mia♡ rated it liked it
"You ate my fries!"

"Oh, those were yours?"

I enjoy a book, when a few chapters in, there is a fight about fries. Greetings From Planet Earth was and amazing book. The book was so easy to get lost in. I teared up lots of times throughout the book. I felt like I was part of the family. Theo and Janet's love-hate relationship is amazingly hilarious and heart warming. And, by the end of the story, Theo and Janet are the coolest siblings ever.

The foreshadowing Barbara Kerley uses in this story is abs
Jun 29, 2009 Duane rated it it was amazing
To start, let me just say that I loved this book! I wasn't expecting to, so it was a very nice surpise. Theo is a 12 year old boy who lives with his mother and sister. The problem is, his dad is gone and nobody will tell him why. His dad went to Vietnam and never came back and as far as he knows, is considered MIA. His grandmother starts to tell Theo little tidbits about his dad which only intrigues him more. His science teacher at school has given him a assignment that is making Theo really thi ...more
The year is 1977, the Vietnam War has ended, the Space Race is in full swing and Encyclopedia Britannica is still considered a cutting edge research tool. Theo is working on completing an assignment which answers the question, "Who are we?". In addition to this question he is trying to figure out what happened to his father after the war. Theo's mother doesn't speak of his father and brushes off Theo's attempts to find out the truth. Barbara Kerley offers up a sensitive tale of family secrets an ...more
Jan 16, 2011 Laura rated it did not like it
Quite frankly this book ticked me off. I can't say much about why this is the case without giving away the ending. I honestly think that I took this book a little too personally. But, I am not sure that the author thought about when creating an ending that feels like a band aid on a gaping wound. I don't recommend this book. This is nominated for a California Young Reader Medal this year. As a responsible librarian, I have the obligation to present it impartially which will be very difficult, bu ...more
Alison Ebert
this book is about a boy,Theo who lives at home with his mom and sister. his father left to the war to repair helicopters in Theo grew older he missed his father and wanted to know more about him. Theo read letters from his father and asked his grandmother to tell him everything about his father. After school Theo went to follow his grandmother because he was growing suspicious of her. he found out that his father was alive and that he was working with kids and teaching them to repair ve ...more
Jul 28, 2008 Terri rated it liked it
Recommends it for: grades 5-7
12-year-old Theo's long-standing interest in space is sparked by the launch of Voyager II in 1977 and a science assignment to choose the most important part of life on earth and describe it in one minute or less. The search for the perfect answer leads Theo to questions about his father's failure to return from Vietnam and the secrets his mother keeps from her children.

I really enjoyed this off-beat book. It opens many avenues for discussion and reads like contemporary realistic fiction despite
Kristin Rosenberg
Jun 17, 2014 Kristin Rosenberg rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
If you had one minute to talk about the best thing about the planet Earth, what would you choose? Theo is given exactly that dilemma, and while the assignment seems at first easy, it quickly leads him down a path of introspection and indecision. Will picking the best thing about Earth help Theo learn some things about himself? This book may not be action packed, but it is filled with quality contemplation and personal growth.
Jun 02, 2008 Jespera rated it liked it
This is the story of a 12 year old boy who, in 1977, is working on answering the question "What is the most important thing about earth?" to put on the Voyager--for a school assignment. Meanwhile, he seeks to discover what happened to his father who never returned from Vietnam. His mother never speaks of his father, but he finds himself wanting to know more. Interesting to me as well, because he is my age and my father went to Vietnam and returned.
Feb 18, 2010 Missmath144 rated it liked it
Recommended to Missmath144 by: PDK group/Kelly
Theo is a kid who loves science. He's especially enthralled with space and with the exploration of space. He is also very interested in his current science project, which is to determine what makes Earth different/important. How can he represent Earth in a single picture and a one-minute soundbite? Quite apart from that, his father went to fight in VietNam and never came back. He's not dead; he just never came back, and Theo's mom won't talk about it.
Jun 28, 2008 Chrissy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-stuff
Wow. I'll give four stars to any book that makes me cry at the end, and this one fits the bill. I didn't catch on to what was happening until very late in the game, and when I realized...yikes, it was a tear jerker. The author does an excellent job using space exploration, flight and the Voyager missions to help a young man express his feelings about a missing father and a family that refuses to talk about it. This is a really interesting addition to fiction about the Vietnam War.
May 13, 2014 Kenna rated it really liked it
A great book that portrays how Vietnam effected America (not in a deep philosophical way of course, but more geared towards a younger crowd). This book has tons of twists and surprises the reader had no idea was coming, and the reader could've never guessed.
Overall, the book was humorous, entertaining, and a light read.
May 09, 2012 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Theo loves space, thinking and putting models together. He misses having a dad who never has returned from the Vietnam War. Theo's teacher poses the question "Who are we?" Theo struggles to decide what his project will be to answer this question and also struggles with his dad, mom and grandma over his dad's decision to go into war. Very Good
May 29, 2013 Lois rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, fiction
This book got me thinking. I liked this book. And Theo was likeable. At first I didn't liked Janet, but then she turned out to be cool. And I liked Kenny to, for him the most important thing in this Planet is Buster, their dog. And I like what he said about animals, that they are as important as humans. I totally agree.
Sue Jackson
A fun and introspectic novel set in 1977 about a boy who dreams of going to the moon...and of finding his father who went to Vietnam and never returned. Read my full review at:
Nov 12, 2014 Molly rated it really liked it
This was good, no one had taken it out from my library in a while so I decided to see if it was worth saving. Good historical fiction. Certainly not going to jump off the shelf in popularity, but it is a keeper, for now!
A sweet heart-tugger with a decent mystery at its core. Nothing earth-shattering or groundbreaking in terms of children's literature, but definitely a worthy read and a good segue into discussions of war veterans and what it would be like to come home after combat.
Jul 23, 2010 Ledawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-fiction
CYRM nominee 2010-11. Set during the first moon landing. Mystery of father's disapearance in Vietnam and a school assignment become to much for one boy.
Dec 30, 2011 Rhiannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: great
A story of a 12-year in 1977 old who finds what's important to him after looking for it for a long time.
Feb 13, 2008 Connie rated it really liked it
Vietnam era could lead to lots of great discussion!
Amy Rhilinger
Aug 18, 2010 Amy Rhilinger rated it really liked it
I read this because of it's relation to Frances Dowell's Shooting the Moon and I am so glad I did! A thought provoking story that makes me wish I has a classroom of kids to read it it with.
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Barbara Kerley was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in many places, including Nepal and the tropical island of Guam. She has written about almost everything: 19th C iguanodons, Teddy Roosevelt, world peace, Mark Twain's donkey, and the pleasure of following your curiosity.
More about Barbara Kerley...

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