The Story of Space by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband
|The Story of Space by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A perfectly impactful primer on space science for the under-eights.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 40||Date: April 2017|
|Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
I have no actual idea how I first got an interest in space. Perhaps it's there because I'm so old to almost coincide with the last Apollo astronauts being on the moon (and that's pretty old, it's been so long) and it kind of rubbed off on me. Perhaps in fact all young children are interested in space anyway, and don't need any impetus or reason to look up in wonder. But if they do, this is the newest way of nudging the newer child towards a keenness for all things celestial. And it's a pretty good way indeed.
You can probably guess the story by now – the big bang is introduced, galaxies form, we close up on one as a star in one arm of it forms out of cosmic dust and gas and so on, and then the planets arrive after that. Oxygen is provided by life, and lo and behold up pops mankind, who can then build telescopes, and eventually spacecraft to start to build our own presence in the great beyond. But seldom is the book that can convey all that, in such a cogent and sensible narrative and such respectable illustration, for ones so young.
The pages are low on word-count as you'd expect, but we're still introduced to dark energy, black holes, the ISS and a host more. I saw nothing that struck me as out of place, repeated or inaccurate. It all seemed to be balanced perfectly for the young student, as we have two sort-of proxies, children in space suits witnessing everything and giving us a pithy comment. On the whole they're unnecessary, except for the friendliness of their visage and the familiarity they will bring to every spread for the target audience, but they did remind the reader the trip back from the moon will be three whole days. It's the tiny detail that can bring some of this home – and if the text does have a fault it's in the use of ill-defined meganumbers, such as trillions of stars, billions of years and so on. The young won't fathom the immensity of those numbers, as few adults do either.
The visuals are great, finally – really friendly, and so colourful the teacher may well be itching to tear them out and present them on the classroom wall. They can be immensely cartoonish when presenting the children guides, but also really rather accurate and correct when portraying the necessary detail. The illustrations mean there is just the right colour on these pages, as well as just the right level of information. It's all just right for being a suitable impetus to create future space enthusiasts, even if the humans inspiring them by example are rather thin on the ground.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
And for the next age range up, there is The Book Of Space: All About Stars, Planets and Rockets! by Clive Gifford – with Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond by Martin Jenkins and Stephen Biesty just beyond that.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Story of Space by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Story of Space by Catherine Barr, Steve Williams and Amy Husband at Amazon.com.
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