How the Meteorite Got to the Museum

Given that one of my family’s favorite TV shows used to be Meteorite Men, I knew I had to take a look at How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland. In her usual lightly humorous style Hartland reveals how a piece of the Peekskill meteorite ended up on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

meteorite-to-museumFirst, what exactly is a meteorite? TV watching pays off because I can tell you that a meteorite is a hunk of space rock that actually falls to earth. A meteor, on the other hand, is a hunk of space rock or dust that burns up in the atmosphere before it reaches the surface (also known as a shooting star). Note: the book’s coverage of the term meteor is as Winnie the Pooh might say, “A bit wobbly.”

The meteorite in the book was quite unusual because when it landed, it struck a car in Peekskill, New York.  It turns out that some people at a sporting event saw it and were able to film the meteorite falling to earth. Here is an example of some footage from that night:

This book is the third in a series in which Hartland uses a cumulative story technique borrowed from “The House that Jack Built.” Here she explains where the meteorite came from, who saw it, and what the owner of the car did when she discovered the damage, etc. Read carefully, however, because although the sequence of previous events repeats in each two-page spread as you would expect, the verbs change a bit, adding interest.

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum is one of those special books that can be used in a number of ways. Of course it would be ideal for units on the solar system, as well as earth science. It would also hop right over to language arts for a lesson in story structure or verbs. Don’t forget art, because Hartland’s energetic illustrations will be a source of discussion and inspiration. It also begs to be used to accompany a trip to a museum. Finally, it stands alone as a tale that children are going to find intriguing. Try out a copy today!


A review and activities related to Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by author and illustrator Jessie Hartland here at Wrapped in Foil

Lively interview showing illustrations coming together at Pen and Ink

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Blue Apple Books (October 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1609052528
ISBN-13: 978-1609052522

Disclosure: This book was originally obtained for review electronically from Edelweiss, although I finished the review using a copy from my local public library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

When I saw that this week’s Nonfiction Monday was going to be hosted at Perogies & Gyoza, I knew just which book I was going to choose. Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by author and illustrator Jessie Hartland seems an obvious choice for a blog named after food. 🙂

This book has been getting quite a bit of buzz in the children’s book community, including a review by The New York Times. Last week Jeanne reviewed it at True Tales and a Cherry on Top.

The author has created a book that is as individual, wacky, and yet endearing, as Julia Child was herself. Although The New York Times review suggests that children will not know who Julia Child is, that is why the book is important. Children don’t know who George Washington is either until they are introduced to him.

I will admit, however, that the hand-lettered text and the cursive are going to make reading the book difficult for struggling young readers. Hopefully they will find a caring adult to read it to them.

Bon Appétit! is inspiring in many ways and can be used as a jumping off point for hands-on learning.

Activity 1. French Food

J’ai faim aussi!”

That is what children may say after reading about Julia Child. They are going to be interested in eating French food and probably French cooking, too. The book has a recipe for crepes for children to make at the end, but there are many other ways to introduce French cuisine, as well.

Tomato Tartine

A tartine is an open-faced sandwich. What says “France” more than a crusty loaf of bread and some French cheese?

You will need the following:

  • Loaf of French bread
  • Good quality tomato
  • A mild French cheese, such as brie or munster (optional)
  • Ground pepper or pinch of chopped basil

You may either prepare this yourself, or have the children prepare it if they are old enough to handle cutting implements. Slice the bread and toast it. Slice the tomato and the cheese. Layer the cheese on the warm bread and top with the tomato slices. Grind some pepper or add a pinch of chopped basil. Serve as an open-faced sandwich.

Find some more delightful ideas and recipes, like these from French Kids Eat Everything, on the Internet. Can truffles and escargot be next? 🙂

Activity 2. Still Life Art:  La Vase Bleu (The Blue Vase) by Paul Cézanne

Although the illustrations in Jessie Hartland’s book are anything but still, this category of art seems appropriate for drawing or painting food and items around the kitchen.

Obtain a print of the painting or view The Blue Vase at The Artchive and discuss the artist and his work. Explain how Cézanne was French and also went to Paris to study like Julia Child did. Have the children draw/paint a still life with age-appropriate directions about drawing shapes and using shading techniques.

Use this time-lapse video of a person creating a still life bowl of cherries for inspiration.

Activity 3. Writing

Bon Appétit! reveals a great deal about the process of writing a book and getting it published. Discuss all the steps Julia Child went through to get her book published and the marketing she did afterward. It is inspiring how she and her co-author continued on in the face of multiple rejections.

Create a visual organization chart summarizing the events and relate them to other authors’ journeys to print.

Writing prompt:  If you could write a book, what would you want to write about and why?

Activity 4. Learning about World Languages

Exposure to world languages is important for children in so many ways. When is the last time you read a children’s book that was filled with French phrases and vocabulary like this one? In fact, the final endpapers of the book are all the French words for the items identified in English in the front endpapers.

Make a list of all the French words and phrases used in the books. Draw a “pictionary” like the back endpapers to help remember and reinforce vocabulary. Find and explore more books with French vocabulary to add to the list.

Discuss how important learning French was for Julia and how it changed her life. The book also mentions that she had to study very hard and it took her four years to become fluent.

Click on the icon for a (slowly growing) list of more language books.

Perhaps reading Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by author and illustrator Jessie Hartland may be life-changing as well.

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (May 22, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375869441
ISBN-13: 978-0375869440

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s round-up is at Perogies & Gyoza.