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The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto
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The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  49 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
This nonfiction picture book tells the story of astronomer Mike Brown, from his childhood to his growing curiosity about the solar system to his amazing discoveries. Full color.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Cooper Square Publishing Llc
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Lisa Vegan
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dreamers, inventors, discoverers; to learn about our solar system and astonomy
This biography is so perfect for kids, especially those interested in astronomy or discovery/invention. It’s about Mike Brown and it starts when he’s a boy and goes to the present. He’s now an adult with a daughter of his own. But, he’s “Mike” throughout the book and he’s referred to in a way that does not distance him too much from his childhood goals, or from children being able to identify with him. He’s portrayed in such a way that children will like and admire him, but he doesn’t seem like ...more
Crystal Marcos
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Planet Hunter was a great read. I think this book would inspire any young astronomer. I certainly learned from this book. The story takes us through the life of astronomer Mike Brown and his journey to become “The Planet Hunter”. I liked the illustrations and attention to detail. For example, one of illustrations was of Mike as a child hanging a solar system poster in his room. He had a holey sock, open messy drawer, and an over crowed trash can. It was fun to see what he was like as a child ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Rusch tells the story here of astronomer Mike Brown, who, in looking for planet-sized objects beyond Pluto, discovered Santa, the fastest revolving object in our solar system, Quaoar, Sedna, and Eris, an object bigger than Pluto. Unfortunately, even though Eris is bigger than Pluto, it's not considered a planet either. I didn't care for the casual way this book was written, more like an anecdote. I would have liked a straightforward non-fiction book, but that's just me. The illustrations were co ...more
Science fans will love this mix of story biography and nonfiction details about Mike Brown's discoveries. I loved how his story didn't "start" when he was an adult, but as a child fascinated with astronomy. The first two-page spread of the book really captures it for me: the fascination, the delight, and the "let me see for myself".
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A reasonable and cheerful explanation of the discoveries that led to Pluto being un-planeted. Excited to read this to my kids when we get to talk about space this year!!!!!
Elizabeth Meadows
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, non-fiction
I love this story! I have read astronomer Mike Brown's superbly informative and funny book "How I Killed Pluto, and Why It Had It Coming," and this version for kids is well-told and illustrated.
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-nonfiction
The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Guy Francis, is a picture-book format biography of astronomer Mike Brown. Brown's discoveries of many celestial bodies, including Quaoar, Sedna, & Santa, plus a Pluto-sized object, Eris, in our solar system led to a re-evaluation of what constitutes a planet, & ultimately led to the demotion of Pluto to dwarf-planet status.

Rusch makes scientific ideas both clear & interesting. The illustrat
Abby Johnson
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This nonfiction picture book tells the story of Mike Brown, the guy whose discoveries led to Pluto's demotion. Mike always thought there must be more planets out there somewhere and he was so confident about it that he made a bet with a friend that a planet larger than Pluto would be discovered within four years. Mike lost his bet, discovering several astral bodies that were smaller than Pluto. But just after the four-year limit, Mike found Eris, a planet bigger than Pluto! But if everything tha ...more
Anne Levy
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children
In case you've been living on an asteroid, Pluto got bumped from the planet club last year after astronomers decided there were too many other Pluto-esque balls of ice and rock floating around the same neighborhood. It just wasn't special enough after all.

Nothing could make such a phenomenon hit closer than dramatizing it as a personal quest. Rusch cuts through the science and brings us a gripping, highly readable story of one persistent, likable young astronomer determined to find another plane
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Pluto got demoted from being a planet, I, like most people, was confused. How can something that has been known to be one thing for so long now be something different? Since then, I have read several books that are all about, or at least mention, Pluto's demotion asking readers to choose a side in this debate. How funny that the relabeling of our solar system caused such controversy. This biography is great at explaining how all of this reclassifying came to be.
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collin
Collin received this book as a gift from someone who met the author at a conference. I thought it would be too complex for a four year old, but he loves it. I love that the book has a mix of drawings and actual photographs of the sky - nicely done. This book also happens to be the first biography that I have read to Collin, so it gave me the opportunity to tell him what a biography is and how it is different from the other books we read.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was great. I loved the illustrations. I can imagine this being a great read aloud during an astronomy unit or a biography unit. And I must say that it really helped me understand why Pluto is no longer designated a planet and get excited about future discoveries that may happen in my lifetime. This was such a great book...and includes an awesome poster.
Peggy Thomson
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I were still teaching, I'd probably have to buy this because I couldn't imagine doing a unit for kids 4-12 without it. Really worthwhile. It's a good time to read it with our current events regarding Pluto.
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
So much has been made of the Pluto controversy, this book explains why Pluto is not a planet by tracing the evolution of discoveries about Pluto by an actual scientist. Great for teaching kids about how science learns and changes.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great children's biography of Mike Brown, Hunstville, AL native, who had a passion for planets and desire to find more. (Somehow I missed reading about the 'planet problem' in the news and really enjoyed learning about the discovery of Quaoar, Sedna, Santa and Eris in this current biography).
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Great explanation for what happened to Pluto - true story of the scientist that caused the whole uproar, but written as a children's story. If you're studying the planets with your elementary aged kids, this is definitely a fun one to include.
Christine Turner
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a non-fiction book in a picture book format.
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-nature
Complex stuff/real science/biography in a very kid-friendly (but interesting to adult) style. Really impressed with this book. I LOVE Pluto though so I am perhaps a bit impartial.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Fascinating read about Pluto and Planet Hunter - liked the additional facts too.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Even kids typically too old for picture books should like this one, if they are interested in astronomy.
Great story about why Pluto is no longer a planet--with great pictures (more a picture story book)
Angie Johnson
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: stories-to-noah
A little wordy for the dude. But cool illustrations.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: massimo, mariana
Interesting book.
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Jun 17, 2017
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ELIZABETH RUSCH is an award-winning children's book author and magazine writer. She writes both fiction and nonfiction in the areas of science, art, sports, waves, jokes, crayons, and mud — anything that catches her fancy.

Her recent title, The Mighty Mars Rovers The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a Junior Library Guild selection, has garnered starred r
More about Elizabeth Rusch...