Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman
|Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: The most complete and perfectly explained book on space I have ever found, but still every bit as much fun to read a comic book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: October 2013|
|Publisher: Flying Eye Books|
|External links: Author's website|
The first thing I noticed about this book was the illustrations. There is a strong nostalgic feel to this that makes me think of space race era film clips and early Flash Gordon comics. Perhaps it was the wonderfully fun illustrations that made me assume (incorrectly) that this would be less academic than most of the books in our space collection. I was expecting this to be a fun light read. It was certainly fun, the whole family loved this book, but it was anything but a light read. We spent three days reading this book, researching topics online after reading about them, engaging the entire family in debates on space, conducting experiments inspired by our research etc... We had to rearrange our entire school week - and we still haven't finished - we have a number of new projects inspired by this book planned for next week as well. This book is, without any doubt one of the most educational books we have ever read, all the while not only holding the children's interest, but completely captivating them.
We do an in depth unit study on space every year, and I have a very large number of books on the subject. I have never found one that covers so many topics related to space, in such a fun and easy to understand manner. This book has enough scientific information, that even my husband and I both were able to learn a significant amount from it. But it was presented in such a way that both of my children, ages five and eight were able to grasp everything easily and completely. Some of the subjects covered include: the big bang theory, the birth of a star, types of stars, galaxies, our solar system and planets, space travel and the international space station, asteroids and comets, the constellations and more. And if this were not enough, it encourages children to imagine what other forms life could take on other planets, what space travel might be like and whether we will eventually form colonies in space.
This book is a pleasure to read, and one which I expect to read over and over through the years. I'm glad it has such thick pages and is very securely bound, as it will certainly get a lot of use. I've already recommended it to other home educators, and would recommend this for any child with any interest in space. I wouldn't limit this book to children though. I feel this could have quite a lot of appeal to adults as well. It would make a wonderful coffee table book, or conversation starter, as well as being a fun and informative book for adults as well as children. I wouldn't want this to be our only book on space, although in fact it does cover nearly as much as all the others combined, simply because I would want at least one with more detailed, life-like illustrations. but the uniqueness of the illustrations really adds to this book as well. Of course, I have come to expect 'unique' from Flying Eye Books
It does, however, have one single flaw. Under the section Moon Facts, one common misconception is repeated. The book states that the astronauts had to wear heavy boots on the moon to keep from floating into space. This isn't true, but it is a widely believed myth. My son realised right away that the boots would weigh less than the astronauts, and if they were in a true zero-gravity environment, as they were in the capsule, the boots would not weigh anything either. In fact, even a feather will fall to the ground on the moon, something we watched from the old Apollo footage ourselves, it just falls more slowly. Despite this error, I simply can not bring myself to give this book less than five stars. We have never had a book which so completely engaged the whole family, and in all honesty, my son delights in finding mistakes in books. If anything, this added to his enjoyment of the book - and in a round about way led to studying Galileo, Newton, and gravity. It is a small error which parents should be aware of, and discuss with their children, but it has the potential to add even more enjoyment to this book by encouraging independent study, and teaching children to always question anything that doesn't sound quite right to them. This could very easily lead to a whole generation of future scientists.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman at Amazon.com.
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