Reviewed by Cindi Smith-Walters
Do you want a book about space for readers age 8 and up with glorious illustrations that encourage a child to think, dream, and wonder? Do you want a book that reads like a story, yet delivers content information? This is just the book.
This book takes you on a vivid, virtual journey to explore some of the universe's most intriguing places. Each chapter is a rich, double–page spread with stunning snapshots of distant locations as the reader travels further and further from Earth—from cold, red Mars (3 light minutes away) to a massive supernova (10,000 light years away) and beyond.
The first section, "Beyond the Moon," is accompanied by an eye–popping image of the moon’s profile with the Earth in the distance. In clear, understandable language the author describes the development of astronomy and how humans made the first small jumps into space in the 1960s. Several double–spread sections follow, each with a large, impressive illustration and a text box of information.
Near the beginning, you find a double–page spread of various numbered points in astronomical history, each of which is further explained in subsequent chapters. Terms the reader will see repeatedly, such as LMA (light minutes away), LHA (light hours away),and LYA (light years away) are introduced at this point and selected pages within the book are referenced, thus encouraging you to read on. Later chapters deal with topics including but not limited to gas storms on other planets and their causes, brown dwarf stars, how stars are born and die, galaxies, and more. I particularly appreciated the last few content–rich pages containing short, illustrative paragraphs accompanied by small, ‘thumbnail’ paragraphs of clear, understandable information. These thumbnails were devoted to a variety of topics including our neighbors in space, worlds beyond, and across the galaxy. Key terms are bolded and explained more fully in the accompanying glossary, and sections of the narrative on these pages are in italics, emphasizing vocabulary and reader understanding.
Journey ends with a chapter devoted to mapping the universe. Size and scale are both explained via an uncomplicated narrative and excellent diagrams.This chapter is a first–rate way to end the book. Finally, at the end of the book you will find a comprehensive glossary, index, and list of useful websites and suggested locations in the United States to visit to learn more about the history of astronomy, our exploration of the universe, and the dazzling new technology that will expand our knowledge in the future.
The author is an award–winning former head of the United Kingdom’s National Physical Laboratory and has authored a number of books for children and adults. I highly recommend this one for the space geeks in your classroom (or family). It is an excellent primer for an adult who knows little about space, exploration, and the universe.
Review posted on 1/14/2013