I Spy Up in the Sky Book Reviews

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Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch: May 2012

On the I Spy Up in the Sky series

Far above us lie many mysteries, and children will always prove curious. I Spy Up in the Sky is a series of children's books from Tamra Orr, as she explores the things that hang far above us and inspire wonder for those who look up, educating and entertaining with rhyme. The Moon explores the moon, why it changes night to night, the man in the moon, and other legends. The Clouds explores the many type of clouds overhead, where they come from and what they can bring. The Stars discusses the stars that fill the sky, what they are, and the constellations they form. The Sun explores the center of our solar system and what it does for us, what it's made of, and more. An excellent choice for collections seeking educational picturebooks, I Spy Up in the Sky is a series that shouldn't be excluded from consideration.

School Library Journal (Series Made Simple), November 2011

On the I Spy Up in the Sky series

In a rare pairing of color photographs and rhymed verse, these deceptively elementary-looking volumes introduce clouds and other sky phenomena. Orr lays out each topic in simple, if often tortured, quatrains (“Waves roll in, then glide out/The Moon’s sea duty/Pulls them by gravity,/Part of nature’s beauty”), enriched with references to 10 kinds of clouds, lunar phases and eclipses, the solar corona and sunspots, and the life cycle of a star. Captions and labels on many of the photos kick the informational level up a notch; for example, in Stars a spread names all of the Pleiades stars and another identifies the stars of Ursa Major. Each volume closes with a fact section (or, in the case of Clouds, a visual recap). Children will find these titles easy to read but challenging to absorb; older reluctant readers and ESL students may find them appealing, too.

Booklist, October 1, 2011

On The Clouds

The I Spy Up in the Sky Series takes an unusual approach—short, rhyming stanzas—to relate information about the sun, moon, stars, and, in this volume, clouds. After a few pages introducing how clouds are made and what form precipitation can take (rain, hail, sleet, and snow), Orr offers up a two-page spread of pictures and text for each kind of cloud. Stratocumulus, altocumulus, and nimbostratus are just three of the surprisingly technical clouds covered, which begs the question: Is poetry really the best way to communicate information about these formations? Probably not, though there will be some who respond to the delivery method: “They form in long rows, / With small water drops; / They bring in cold fronts, / And warm weather stops.” The photos are big and bright (or dark, depending on the weather), and the back matter features an extremely helpful chart of all the clouds together, a glossary, an index, and a list of further reading.