How the Meteorite got to the Museum

by Jessie Hartland

Meteor Cvr Comp



It came from outer space—and is crashing onto bookshelves!

Part history, part science, part mystery and part entertainment—this third book in the highly successful “Museum” series chronicles how a rock from outer space broke free from its billion-year orbit, crashed into a teenager’s Chevy Malibu, and landed in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.

Acclaimed author Jessie Hartland brings a space rock’s story close to home by tracing its route above a stadium of football fans, late-night diners, a TV-watching teen, a puzzled group of firefighters, and to a final connection with the team of experts that made it available to millions of museum visitors. Fascinating meteor facts and information round out this galactic-fantastic true story.

As new meteors make headlines, How the Meteorite Got to the Museum offers a great way to bridge past and present, science and entertainment.

Editorial Review

Kirkus Reviews - STARRED REVIEW

Hartland follows up earlier titles about museum acquisitions of an ancient Egyptian sphinx and remains of a dinosaur with a lively new one based on the travels of the Peekskill meteorite to the American Museum of Natural History.

With a catchy cumulative “House That Jack Built”–like refrain, a science teacher chronicles for her students the travels of a meteoroid from outer space to the atmosphere over the United States, across several states, into a parked car in Peekskill, N.Y., and on to the museum. Text introducing the various role-players is set on double-page spreads of childlike paintings full of interesting details. The meteor zips across the sky past a barking dog in Kentucky, sports fans with cameras in Pennsylvania and on down through a teenager’s parked car, where various officials investigate. Finally, there are the museum employees who identify, acquire, explain and display it. Each participant’s title is written in capital letters and given a recognizable typeface and color. The verbs in the refrain vary intriguingly: The dog barks, yelps, woofs, howls, ruffs, arfs, yips and yaps. The backmatter includes more about the history of this particular meteorite and meteorites in general.

This lighthearted behind-the-scenes look at museum work does double duty as a much-needed introduction to meteorites: most children’s closest possible connection to outer space.

Publishers Weekly

Having previously explained how Egyptian and prehistoric artifacts arrived in museum displays in How the Sphinx Got to the Museum and How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum, Hartland goes for a hat trick. This time, a science teacher traces a meteor’s billions of years spent in space before it entered Earth’s atmosphere (thereby becoming a meteorite) and eventually landed near Peekskill, N.Y., in 1992. Hartland reprises the cumulative structure of the earlier books; after the meteorite crashes into a red Chevy Malibu, police arrive to investigate the meteorite “discovered by the teenager, recorded by sports fans, spotted by Virginians, and howled at by the dog as it bolted toward the Earth.” A geologist later confirms the meteorite’s legitimacy, and the meteorite comes to find a (partial) home at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (the aforementioned teenager went on to sell slices of the meteorite to other buyers, as well, an afterword notes). Exuberant typography, playful paintings, and accessible prose all help Hartland’s account make an impact.

About The Author/Artist

Jessie Hartland is an author, illustrator, cartoonist, artist, packaging and window display designer. In addition to dinosaurs and sphinxes, her books have featured Julia Child and Steve Jobs. Ms. Hartland is married to a rocket scientist and lives in New York City.
Learn more about Ms. Hartland at


Ages: 6-9 years

Resources for Librarians & Educators

Click here to download How the Meteorite Got to the Museum: Lesson Plan 1

Click here to download How the Meteorite Got to the Museum: Lesson Plan 2

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USA 17.99 | Canada 20.99

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