Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Joy Findlay - Rocket Boy Books for Toddlers

This was originally posted on my Kiddos With Kindle's blog, which I will be discontinuing.  Due to changes in Amazon's policies, I will no longer be able to have a blog dedicated to Free Kindle Books.   Therefore, I plan to bring relevant posts to this blog over the next few days, and eventually deleting the other blog.


Joy Findlay has written many books for her two children, a girl and a boy, ages 3 and 4.

Over several posts, I will feature many of her books - starting with the 4 Rocket Boy sets.  These are aimed at boys (or girls) who already have some interest in space.  Ages 2 - 6 would enjoy them the most, and some are more educational than others.

What I like?  The pictures in the books are REAL looking ... not cartoonish.  There are enough facts about each planet and the sun for a young child to learn and usually at a level that most 4 or 5 year olds would easily understand.

Each book starts pretty much the same way, with the little boy (her own son I would guess) wondering about something, climbing into his rocket, and going into space.  A few books begin with the boy already out in space.

Each story is very simple without much fluff either in the story or the pictures.

Any child who already enjoys space would probably enjoy these.

What I don't like?  The stories are often on the choppy side - using facts to push the story rather than action.   Also, there is not a lot of variety in the pictures or format from book to book.

The 5 books set sells for $4.99.  Each of the individual books sell for 99c.  So it is cheaper to buy each book individually, and you're child may like one or two books and not care for the others.  BUT with only 13 pages per book, buying the bundle will save you from constantly opening a new document.

The books are occasionally free, usually on a weekend.  As she has many books for sale, a few are free nearly every week.

I plan to use the books to help teach the solar system later this Spring.

   Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set One

Book Description

 July 27, 2012
Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set One, is a compilation of five of the Rocket Boy Adventure Series books. Presented with some of the most amazing astro photography, this Set is a must for every budding astro-geek, and non astro-geek alike. Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set One includes: Rocket Boy Zooming in Space, Rocket Boy and the Sun, Rocket Boy Zooms to Mercury, Rocket Boy Visits Venus, and Rocket Boy Explores the Nebulae.
Ages 2-6

   Rocket Boy Zooming in Space (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

This is a simple story - the boy thinks about space, gets in his rocket, looks at several interesting things, and returns home.

I find the Z in font chosen for the book annoying - as it looks more like a 2 than a Z.  This is the same font used for all of this set.

   Rocket Boy and the Sun (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

In this book, Rocket Boy goes to investigate the sun.  It is a very simple story, built mostly of facts about the sun.

Sometimes he was close to the sun, and sometimes he was far distant.  An older child and parents may find this as reason to dislike the book.

    Rocket Boy Zooms to Mercury (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

This book is very much like the Sun book.

On the page about "Mercury gets twice as hot as an oven".  There is a label for both the Sun and Mercury - but there is not a "Mercury" unless it is the tiny black dot in front of the sun.

     Rocket Boy Visits Venus (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

Venus is almost the same as Mercury and the Sun - but with Venus pictures and facts.

    Rocket Boy Explores the Nebulae (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

This book was the most confusing of the 5.  RB is already out in space and traveling home, when he encounters a nebula and wants to investigate.

I don't know which one he sees, as what follows is a "list" of the types of nebula and a few nebula facts.

It closes with the comment that the nebula is RB's favorite.

More About the Author

Joy Findlay


"As a fulltime mother of two gorgeous pre-schoolers, a career in Television and Video Production was no longer an option. Having taught the basics of the Moving Image, it was just a matter of transitioning those same skills over to a static medium that was creative and flexible enough to work from home.
Kiki (3) and Zoozoo (4) provide the inspiration and direction for most of the children's eBooks created under Findlay Books. Their thirst for learning and adventure never ceases to amaze me.
So now, I write and illustrate a line of children's eBooks especially for my two squidlettes. In the hopes that others actually like them too and would like to let me know, we have set up a website www.findlaybooks.com and a facebook page www.facebook.com/findlaybooks for you to peruse. "

This series of 21 books is most likely to appeal to 2 - 6 year old boys who already enjoy space and stars.   The pictures are NASA pictures that have been "doctored" with the little space rocket.  The stories are very simple, and usually consist more of facts than plots.   Some pictures are much more appealing than others.

The book sets retail for $4.99 each, and the singles for $.99 each.

The books are frequently offered for free, at least a few of her books are available nearly every weekend - though not always.

   Rocket Boy My First Reader Collection - 6 books in one.

 May 9, 2012
Review: "Joy Findlay has written and self-published a series of 6 eBooks, all dealing with the things that little astronomers need to learn, shapes, colours, numbers and letters and things of that ilk.  The "Rocket Boy, my First Reader" series are wonderfully presented books, utilising some of the most awesome astro-stock images to teach these beginning concepts to the smallest star gazers of them all.  The colours are bright and cheerful, the pictures are fascinating and eye catching, if you're looking for something to get your daughters and sons into space, this is an awesome start!" ~  By ValHallen 1200mm Astronomy Blog 


Rocket Boy My First Reader Collection is a compilation of all six of the Rocket Boy My First Reader books. With over 80 pages of fantastic astro-pictures, its a great volume for teaching little ones all the basics of colours, shapes, numbers, alphabet, and the night sky. Beautiful photography of real images in space, this collection is a must for every budding astro-geek, and non astro-geek alike. Ages 2-6.

    Rocket Boy Shapes (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

Each of the shapes is imposed upon an astral body - it is labeled along with the name of each shape.  Some, like the square, have little to do with the shape, and others, like the circle for Mars, are more obvious.   Ten basic shapes are presented.  There is no story line - each page consists of the word for the shape, the name of the astral body, the picture of that body, and a drawn in shape that is being featured.  There are 10 pages.

    Rocket Boy Numbers (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

This book is much like the shapes book.   It begins with a picture of the sun,  the number 1, the word ONE, and labeled  Sol.   Two nebulae, crab and butterfly, Three comets, Four Moons (of Jupiter?), and so on until  ten.  At ten, there is a blue rocket with the numbers from 10 - 1, and the next page is the blue Rocket  with Blast Off.  The book is 11 pages long.

    Rocket Boy Colours (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

Similar to the first two books of this series.  Each page features a color, the little rocket in that color, the word of the color "brown, red, orange...", and the astral body that is closest to the color - red is Mars, orange is the sun.   There are 10 colors for a total of 10 pages.   I actually like this one quite a lot.

    Rocket Boy Twinkle Star (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

This is the poem "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" with pictures of various nebula and star bodies and other "shiny spots in the sky".  There is a second verse to the poem here - so it tops out at 12 pages long.

    Rocket Boy Alphabet (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

Similar to the shapes, colors, and numbers books, each page features TWO letters of the alphabet - so the book is only 13 pages long.  The pictures are all labeled.   I would have liked this much better as a 26 page book, as many of the pictures feel quite cramped.

    Rocket Boy The Night Sky (Rocket Boy My First Reader)

This one didn't impress me much - it is a "list" of 10 things in the night sky.  It starts out with "The Earth" ... which is not in our night sky at all.   After "The Moon", there is "The Sun" ... again, not in the night sky.   Most of the items are in the sky - but not usually visible.   It was annoying that each item  was labeled with "The" as well.

     Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set Two

 July 27, 2012
Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set One, is a compilation of five of the Rocket Boy Adventure Series books. Presented with some of the most amazing astro photography, this Set is a must for every budding astro-geek, and non astro-geek alike.
Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set Two includes: Rocket Boy and the Solar System, Rocket Boy On the Earth, Rocket Boy Goes to the Moon, Rocket Boy and the Red Planet, and Rocket Boy Reaches the Stars.
Ages 2-6

Rocket Boy and the Solar System is not currently available separately.  But may become available again in the future.

This is a simple story - Rocket Boy wants to go out into the Solar System.  He learns what makes up the solar system - and it briefly makes 4 or 5 observations.

   Rocket Boy On the Earth (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

Simple "story" that is mostly observations about earth.   Very simple things like the fact that it takes 365 days for the earth to go around the sun.   Nice pictures of earth, like a desert and an island.

     Rocket Boy Goes to the Moon (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

While exploring the earth, in his rocket, Rocket Boy noticed the Moon.   There are several pictures with facts about the moon, including a footprint on the moon.   The facts are simple and easy for a young child to understand.

     Rocket Boy and the Red Planet (Mars) (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

Rocket boy sees Mars in the night sky, and decides to visit.   Once Rocket Boy is in space, as with the other books featuring planets, the first fact is that Mars is planet number 4 from the sun.  Next, it shows a comparison of size with the earth, noting that Mars is half the size of Earth.  There are a couple of pictures that look more like speculation shots than actual pictures of Mars.

    Rocket Boy Reaches the Stars (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

While this story states that Rocket Boy is going to visit the stars, it is more a series of comments of various sun and star facts.   There are some really nice star pictures.

     Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set Three

 July 27, 2012
Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set Three is a compilation of five of the Rocket Boy Adventure Series books. Presented with some of the most amazing astro-photography, this set is a must for every budding astro-geek, and non-astro-geek alike. Rocket Boy Adventure Series Book Set Three includes: Rocket Boy and the Gas Giant, Rocket Boy and the Ringed Planet, Rocket Boy Rockets to Uranus, Rocket Boy and the Blue Planet, and Rocket Boy Finds other Astro Objects.
Ages 2-6.

     Rocket Boy and the Gas Giant (Jupiter) (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

As with nearly all of the Rocket Boy planet books, Rocket Boy decides to go into space.  Jupiter is planet number 5 from the sun.  It talks about how HUGE Jupiter is, and how many moons it has.  Of course it mentions the Red Spot.   You also see the 4 largest Moons that were mentioned in the Numbers book.

     Rocket Boy and the Ringed Planet (Saturn) (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

In this book, Rocket Boy is zooming around and decides to visit Saturn.  We learn that it takes 30 years for it to go around the sun, but that it spins so fast, that it's days are quite short.   If you read the number book - you know that Saturn has 7 rings.   On the last page, you learn that with a telescope, you can see Saturn's rings from earth.

     Rocket Boy Rockets to Uranus (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

This book begins with the observation that Rocket Boy still has two planets to visit.  Planet number 7 is Uranus.  This book is a bit more detailed about the actual planet as it shows cut aways of the core of rock, ice, and then gas.   After discussing the basic facts about Uranus, including a nice picture of it's rings and it's sideways rotation, Rocket Boy returns to Earth.

     Rocket Boy and the Blue Planet (Neptune) (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

From earth, Rocket Boy remembers that he still has one more planet to visit.   This book is much like the Uranus book, and is filled with short facts about Neptune - all simple and to the point.   The book is 13 pages long.

     Rocket Boy Finds other Astro Objects (Rocket Boy Adventure Series)

This book shows the asteroid belt, and talks about the 5 Dwarf planets that circle our sun.  It includes mention of Pluto.  Rocket Boy also encounters a comet.

These books are all very simple and quite short, with the longest one topping out around 15 pages.   Most of them would make good starting points for a longer lesson on the Solar System for an elementary aged child.

Reviews on Amazon are decidedly in favor or against - earning several one stars from those who expected much more for their dollar - bigger pictures, more facts, and a grand story.   One star reviews also included those whose children found the books boring.   On the other hand, many of the books have 4 and 5 stars as well, from parents whose children already showed an interest in astronomy or parents who understood that these books were for a basic introduction into the world of astronomy.

Personally, I would give most of the books 4 stars, and an occasional 3 stars - but overall, the pictures are nice - repetition between books is good for the toddler/ preschool age groups - and the facts are simple and to the point.  Each item is carefully labeled, but small enough that it doesn't have to be a part of the discussion unless the parents want to include it.

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...