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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on February 27, 2008 4:03 PM.

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My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants

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"My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants." Is this a lost line from the Disney cartoon Aladdin? Actually this is the new mnemonic just selected by National Geographic Children's Books in a nationwide contest to help remember the names of the 11 planets recognized by the International Astronomical Union. The planets, in order from the Sun outward, are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris. Pluto, Ceres and Eris are considered dwarf planets. The mnemonic is being recorded into a song by Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Lisa Loeb.

Maryn Smith, a fourth-grader at Riverview Elementary School in Great Falls, Mont., was selected from over 1,000 entries.

"When I got the call, my first response was, 'I won?'" said Maryn. "I can't believe that next year my teacher will be teaching her new class the order of the planets using my mnemonic!"

The contest was launched to coincide with the fall 2007 publication of "Planets, Stars and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe," by acclaimed astronomer David Aguilar. Loeb's song incorporating the mnemonic will be released next month to coincide with the March 2008 publication of Aguilar's next National Geographic book, "11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System."

Lisa Loeb, best known for her No. 1 single "Stay" from the Reality Bites soundtrack, is recording a song based on the mnemonic. "We are thrilled that Lisa signed on to this planetary mnemonic project. She's an amazing songwriter with a distinct voice and is a perfect fit to set Maryn's words to music," said Nancy Feresten, editor in chief of National Geographic Children's Books. "Kids, parents, teachers and librarians who visit our Web site and listen to this remarkable collaboration will find it is a terrific learning tool."

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