What's the Matter with Pluto?
The Story of Pluto's Adventures with the Planet Club

By Paul Halpern, Illustrated by Vance Lehmkuhl

Cover of "What's the Matter with Pluto?"

Pluto joined the Planet Club in 1930, but didn't quite fit in. He is much tinier than the gas giants in the outer part of the Solar System. He has a lot more moons than any of the inner planets. His orbit is much more stretched out than any of the other worlds' paths around the Sun. The other members of the Planet Club didn't know what to make of him. Then one day, Pluto received some bad news...

Explore the story of Pluto as seen through the eyes of the planets themselves. Witness the rise and fall of Pluto's membership in the Planet Club. Why was he demoted and what happened next?

Introduce young minds to the fascinating science of astronomy with this entertaining picture book about the Solar System. Great for ages four to ten!

Masterful illustrations by Vance Lehmkuhl make this book a true gem.

Astronomy for children has never been more fun!

Feed the hungry! 10% of the royalties received for this book will be donated to Philabundance.

Praise for What's the Matter with Pluto?

  • Delightful! What a wonderful way to get young ones interested in the mysteries constantly unfolding in the sky above us. Smart, fun, and educational -- all at the same time. .
    —Christine Lavin, Singer-songwriter: "Shining My Flashlight on the Moon," "Planet X," "Just One Angel 2.0"
  • In 'What's the Matter with Pluto,' Paul Halpern and Vance Lehmkuhl lay out the facts of planetary life with humor, clarity, and a surprising amount of depth. No other issue in astronomy has engendered such passionate feelings and outright confusion from children and adults alike as the "demotion" of Pluto from planetary status, and the abandonment of traditional mnemonics as the solar system went from nine planets to eight. Halpern and Lehmkuhl describe the history of Pluto's discovery, what makes it so different from the others, and ultimately its expulsion from 'The Planet Club,' with a light tone, but enough rigor that even the most ardent Plutonian defender would be hard-pressed to argue. .
    —Dave Goldberg, Astrophysicist and Science Writer: "The Universe in the Rearview Mirror," "A User's Guide to the Universe"

About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is the author of more than a dozen highly acclaimed popular science books and is the distinguished recipient of multiple awards related to his work, in addition to having appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Future Quest and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special. His previous children's book, Faraway Worlds, was named one of the Children’s Choices for 2005 by the International Reading Association. Learn more about him on his personal website.

About the Illustrator

Vance Lehmkuhl is a cartoonist, writer and musician. He is the author of The Joy of Soy, a collection of cartoons about vegetarianism. His vegan newspaper column, V For Veg, appears biweekly in the Philadelphia Daily News. From 1990 to 2003, he wrote and drew Philadelphia City Paper's weekly political cartoon, "How-to Harry." Between 1998 to 2001, he contributed to the New York Times Syndicate feature Face Value. Learn more about him on The Vance Page.