Xo, Exoplanet

by Deborah Underwood (Author) Jorge Lacera (Illustrator)

Xo, Exoplanet
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

From bestselling author Deborah Underwood comes a lively and heartwarming letter writing exchange between all the planets in outer space to show the power of perspective.

It was an ordinary day for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, (and don't forget Pluto, the dwarf planet). The planets were circling the Sun, staring into space, until suddenly they spot something else in their Solar System. What could it be? Who could it be? The planets have no idea but they're circling to find out. Whatever it is that something is most definitely, absolutely, without a doubt NOT a planet. So begins an out-of-this-world pen pal exchange between the planets and an exoplanet: Dear Exoplanet, We are excited to have you in the galaxy! XO, Planets Dear Planets, It is nice to hear from you! But what is an exoplanet? Does it mean "excellent planet"?

XO, Exoplanet paired with vibrant illustrations from Jorge Lacera, this STEM-friendly story, told mainly through letters, reminds readers what happens when we consider another person's point of view.

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Kirkus Reviews

Underwood doesn’t make the underlying point about the value of tolerating differences here on Earth explicit, but even younger audiences should get the memo…when they are not giggling at the sight of the planets playing poker while they wait or Jupiter’s many smiling moons—or, more soberly, taking in the prodigious amount of space trash floating about. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A rollicking reminder to reserve judgment before traveling in another’s orbit. (Picture book. 6-8).

Copyright 2021 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

"The planets were swirling around the sun, as usual," writes Underwood, when Neptune, peering through binoculars, spots another planet "circling another star, far, far, away!" The planets dispatch a "welcome to the galaxy" letter, but when they blithely address the recipient as "Exoplanet"--a planet outside the solar system--civility fails to launch. The planet insists that since it's circling "MY sun," the solar system planets are the real exoplanets; the squabble escalates, playground-style. Lacera's digital cartoons render planets as vivid characters: Jupiter, the blowhard leader, turns beet-red with rage, egged on by minion moons. A passing comet finally points out that who's "in" or "out" depends where one stands--or, as the planets sum up, "To us, you are an exoplanet. But to you, WE are the exoplanets. But no matter what anyone calls us, we are all round objects that travel around a star," delivering a contemporarily incisive message with a light touch. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Deborah Underwood
Deborah Underwood's Outside In was a Caldecott Honor book. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Here Comes the Easter Cat, The Quiet Book, Every Little Letter, and The Panda Problem. Deborah lives in Northern California with her feline muse, Bella.

Sam Wedelich is an author, illustrator, and cartoonist living with her family in upstate NY. She is the creator of Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale and Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf. Sam enjoys gardening, cycling, and making music when she's not hunched over her art table to make something funny or beautiful.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
November 20, 2021

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