I discovered a wonderful children’s story: “How high is the sky?” (How high is the sky?). The book is thin, but between its covers is hidden the infinity of the universe, literally :). It is written in English and is part of the collection Usborne Picture Books – authored by Anna Milbourne and Serena Riglietti.
** What the story is about
A curious little penguin named Pipkin wants to know the answer to questions like ”Why are snowflakes cold?”, “How deep is the sea?”, “Does the sun go to bed at night?”. But here is the question that troubles him the most: “How high is the sky?”. Determined to find out the answer at any cost, he sets off on a journey on the wings of a bluebird, leaving his ice house and his mother behind. Pipkin finds flying amusing, but soon realizes that he cannot reach the sky as he had imagined. “It’s fun to fly”, he says to the blue one, “but I still can’t find the answer to my question: how high is the sky?”.
The albatross tells him that unfortunately he cannot fly any higher than he already has, but a hot air balloon appears in their path, and its pilot invites Pipkin to join him. From the balloon, Pipkin tries to catch clouds with the lasso, but fails. The earth is further and further away, and Pipkin flies higher and higher, but the answer to the question that haunts him is nowhere to be found.
From the balloon, Pipkin moves into a rocket, alongside a cosmonaut. The rocket soars until it exits orbit and plunges into outer space. Pipkin and the astronaut land directly on the moon, where they gaze at the stars together. “The stars are part of the sky too, but they are further away than the moon”, exclaims Pipkin, not understanding how he could find out the answer to his question: “How high is the sky?”.
The astronaut tells him that he cannot fly higher than that. Pipkin is already very far from home, he can no longer see his mother, the igloo or the South Pole, where he lives, so he suggests to his traveling companion to return home. Once back on earth, Pipkin tells his mother about where he’s been walking, but mostly about the fact that the sky just keeps on stretching out, without him being able to touch it.
“The sky goes on forever!” he confesses to his mother, as she puts him to bed, wraps him and tells him that he has explored enough for today.
** What you can discuss with your child
I found the book a perfect introduction to the sciences related to astronomy and physics. In my opinion, it is suitable for children at least 2 years old, but even younger children would probably enjoy the illustrations and the story itself. I talked with my little girl (2 years and 3 months) about the stars and the moon (she is already passionate about them), about our planet and the small place it occupies in the universe.
I introduced the word “universe” and explained that it represents our “home” and our planet. It hit upon the idea that planet Earth “lives” in the universe. I tried to explain to him, as far as possible, what the word “infinite” means. He retained the word – I will continue to insist on its meaning, as far as I understand it. We have also discussed space exploration, astronauts and spaceships. He retained the idea that rockets are the objects that can fly the highest in space, higher than birds, airplanes or hot air balloons. The new words he learned are: igloo, rocket, universe, infinity, albatross.
Overall, The Adventure of Pipkin the Penguin beautifully and eloquently covers a bunch of concepts and things essential to humanity that, in my view, should be introduced to children as early as possible to teach them perspective and understanding of place. that our planet occupies in the universe. And why not, to want to become space explorers themselves.
And if these concepts seem difficult to explain to children (although you will see that they are not, it is easy to get into the game with the help of this little book), the penguin’s travels and the questions he asks themselves remain a beautiful story, only good to put the baby to bed! The illustrations are successful, children will surely get attached to Pipkin the penguin and ask for the book regularly :).
** Where did I get the book from?
I discovered the Facebook page of this retailer Usborne, where I ordered it from and it came to me in the mail.
I recommend you to follow the page and refer to it with confidence: