The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator)

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The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator)

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A product that might not have the perfect balance of technical wonder and theory, but that certainly has enough to draw the inquisitive young audience in by the hands.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 60 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Twirl
ISBN: 9791027601974

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Space. For all the huge, empty expanse of it, it's a full and very fiddly thing to experience. The National Space Centre, in the hotbed of cosmology and space science that is Leicester, is chock full of things to touch, grip, pull and move around – and so is this book. It's a right gallimaufry of things that pop up out of the page, with things to turn and pull, and even an astronaut on the end of a curtain wire. Within minutes of opening this book I had undressed an astronaut to find what was under his spacesuit, dropped the dome on an observatory to open up the telescope, and swung a Soyuz supply module around so it could dock at the International Space Station. Educational fun like that can only be a good thing for the budding young scientist.

I won't go in to how many minutes I played with the book, if you don't mind… Nor how long it took to read, as it is quite light on words – the text, in middling to easy reading font size, is at most about fifty words a page, and while at times it comes at you in seemingly random order it does provide just the basics. It's a pity it defines a shooting star/meteor twice – and the young will have to jump at the facts given that state that both Mercury and Venus are the hottest planets, when by these figures only the latter is.

I also felt that the book's design ambled us through cosy or standout things – the view from above down on to the Earth (a huge, pop-out cardboard dome that bulges South America out at us) and suchlike, before ramming the life of a star, galactic formation and the big bang all on to the last page. But with a short script you're never going to cover much in the way of theory. This book does serve its audience rather well – in addition to the above activities there are several windows to pop out, and a whole rocket to lift off away from its launch tower.

And in fact the book does do what I ask of all non-fiction books, designed for any age audience – namely, that it teaches me at least something. I didn't know about the French cat you reach here when you cycle through the different animals we've sent up – nor even that France had a rocket programme (with purloined Nazi tech) long before the ESA. That means that this fun pop-up and activity book not only gave me, but inspired further, learning. I think that's testament enough to how well received these pages and hands-on elements should be for the young. The tabs are stiff to move about at first, suggesting a long-lasting build quality, so while you have someone to buy books for in the target age range, I'd certainly recommend a go at the experience this provides.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

A slightly different approach to the same end can be had with 50 Things You Should Know About Space by Raman Prinja.

Buy The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator) at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Ultimate Book of Space by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Olivier Latyk and Robb Booker (translator) at Amazon.com.


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