Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith

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Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A very successful entrant into this snappy and succinct series of non-fiction books, this title is great for the home or school library.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 9781908005731

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Back when I was a lad, and reading books on space science from my school library, they were nothing like this. There was little that was as colourful, no recap for every page, no homework suggestions, and certainly there was nothing as up-to-date as exoplanets or the latest dimensions of the International Space Station. Many of the changes are valuable, and make this volume quite a success.

The selling point of this series of non-fiction books for the under-elevens is that they encompass the bare bones basic detail in thirty seconds. Or they're supposed to, but I've put this to the test, and the main bodies of text are probably forty seconds long. What’s more there are bonus facts, and many times the full-page illustrations that accompany every full page of text include more details too with their inbuilt captions.

There are also chapter introductions, and several homework suggestions you can easily see being repeated in primary school classrooms, bringing experiment and individual research (or the internet, at least) into play. It would be good fun and bring things home simply for a class to pace out the solar system across their school field (assuming they still had that luxury, of course.) There is also for every themed section a before-the-fact glossary, to aid comprehension of what is already quite a concise and intelligent spread of words.

I've seen other books in this series, and found the design quite disappointing, to say the least. Here the same guy serves us much better, with his illustrations really not trying to give us photorealism, but conveying what they want to say quite well. They still let us down, however, at times, with captions for the telescope images in the most awkward order, and making the schoolboy error of having a light year as a measure of time.

But this book is a success, more or less, if at times a slightly unsightly one. It ticks all the edutainment boxes, it will be useful for the teacher, and popular for the young scholar. It does not cover everything – other people would have focussed on human pioneers and scientists as a way in to the story of space science, but this does go some large way to replace the plainer, black-and-white books I grew up with.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The Comic Strip History of Space by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner is still tops in this category of non-fiction.

Buy Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith at Amazon.com.


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