Art, Books, Learning, Reviews

Fancy, So Much Stuff to Learn about Planet Earth

Today’s featured book is ‘Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth’ and the reviewed short story is Hawthorne’s ‘Fancy’s Show Box’ from his collection ‘Twice Told Tales’

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The Short:

Fancy’s Show Box by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge – Week 4 of 52.  I drew the 8 of Hearts for this week. The Hearts suits has a list of favorite authors (and this is not all inclusive with just 13 cards in a suit). The 8 of Hearts is Hawthorne. I picked one of his short stories from Twice-Told Tales titled ‘Fancy’s Show Box’ – you can read it here. I read it from my copy of Twice-Told Tales. My complete list is here.

My Thoughts:

This put me in mind of Dicken’s Christmas Carol. The old man sitting by himself; visited by three figures who proceed to give him a look into himself. Unlike the ghosts of Dicken’s Carol, these three figures stay put next to Mr.Smith.

Fancy takes on the role of the showman, with a ‘picture-box’ to display the past. Memory arrives armed with a book to give further proof of those images Fancy shows, while Conscience has a dagger that pricks!

Mr.Smith is taken on a journey of remorse over sins he ‘almost’ committed. So, is he guilty? Hawthorne hopes ‘that all the dreadful consequences of sin will not be incurred unless the act have set its seal upon the thought.’

But as he ends the story, he also notes that ‘though his hand be clean, his heart has surely been polluted by the flitting phantoms of iniquity. 

So, is one guilty of acts almost committed??? What say you, dear reader??

Additional Notes:

As I looked to see if Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’ made its appearance first or Hawthorne’s ‘Fancy’s Show-Box’, I discovered that Hawthorne’s tale appeared in 1837, while the Christmas Carol was published in 1843. I also found this interesting read 🙂

The Book:

Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth:

Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth
by John Farndon, illustrated by Tim Hutchinson
Quarto Publishing Group
Children’s Nonfiction
Pub Date 18 Oct 2018


In this fascinating introduction to Planet Earth, large, colorful diagrams are brought to life by tiny people running around performing the actions that are explained in the text. With Earth’s processes visualized in this imaginative and fun way and accompanied by bite-sized, informative text, even complex ideas are easy to understand. Readers can take an in-depth look at the workings of our planet, from the water cycle and the atmosphere, to how the seasons change and why hurricanes happen. Double gatefolds give a large space in which to explore complex processes such as the rock cycle and evolution. 

My Thoughts:

This book is a treasure-house of information presented in a wonderful package! You cannot go wrong with this book if you are looking for an introduction to earth-science, and what an introduction it is!

From the hows of movement of rivers and of hurricanes, to the whys of earthquakes and life cycles, and the whats of the happenings in the soil and the air, this book includes just about all the stuff you should know about planet earth. And let us not forget the wheres.

While some of the concepts presented might be complex, the presentation makes it ssoooo easy to understand. I loved that the topics are discussed by breaking each one down to a few (six to nine) points; and each point is then explained with a few sentences in straightforward simple language. Complex concept understood!

The illustrations align themselves with the text such that reading the book point-by-point takes us all over the page. This actually serves to add to the fun of reading it. Speaking of illustrations – they are quirky, bright, and colorful; and quite realistic, in spite of all those little green humans(?) and other mythical creatures moving around the page helping us understand all the stuff we should know!

I used the below illustration from the book in my earlier post (clouds) as well.

Some Random Stuff I Learned From the Book:
  • Did you know that our earth’s ‘ice-realm’ is scientifically termed the cryosphere?
  • From the supercontinent Pangea to today’s continents, the earth has come a long way indeed. While I knew this fact already, I wanted to throw this in here; in honor of it being National Puzzle Day (Jan 29)
  • Horizons are not just those lines where the sky meets our earth. A (soil) horizon is also each of the distinct soil layers that develop over time.
  • Did you know about LUCA? Or the Last Universal Common Ancestor? This has me in research mode now.

In Summary:

The information, the presentation, the illustrations – all of these make this a must-have for your home and for classroom libraries everywhere! And it today’s climate of climate-change (intended!), this is stuff you really should know. I know I am getting it for my home library and this is going to be one more of those to-gift-books.. Don’t forget – International Book Giving Day is coming soon too!

Rating: A+
Reading Level: 9 – 12 years (and above)
Reread Level: A+

Disclaimer: Thank you to Quarto Publishing and NetGalley for the digital review copy of this book. The opinions are my own.

You can order the book from:

The Book Depository 

Or from Target

From Amazon

Barnes and Noble

You can check out my previous posts for the month and for Ultimate Blog Challenge below. Caught up again, almost – this is my day 28 post for UBC. Linking this to the IMWAYR over at Teach Mentor Texts

Day 27 Day 26Day 25Day 24 Day 23Day 22Day 21Day 20Day 19Day 18Day 17Day 16Day 15Day 14Day 8Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 9
Day 10Day 11Day 12 Day 13

36 thoughts on “Fancy, So Much Stuff to Learn about Planet Earth

    1. 🙂 I had to go look up what you were referring to in your answer to my first question, and yes, it does sound like that..
      The book is beautiful to look at and will end up filling brains with bits and pieces of useful information

  1. Wow, Vidya! I’m really excited about Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth. Two of my kiddos are especially interested in learning more about Earth and I’ve not read this one. I like seeing that it’s 80-pages long, too — lots of great information! Thanks for sharing and for linking up with #imwayr!

  2. This looks like a very interesting book, and I like how the author and illustrator make it appealing to the reader with bright images and understandable text.

  3. I really like the looks of Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth!! We are homeschooling and it sounds like the perfect addition!

  4. When I was younger, I devoured books like this one. I really hope my son is going to be interested in books like this when he’s a bit older. I still love reading informational books a lot and own quite a lot of them about subjects I’m interested about.

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