Reviewed by Jacqueline Pfeiffer
3rd Grade Teacher
Is a lunar eclipse when the Moon casts its shadow on the Sun or when the Earth casts its shadow on the moon? What is the alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun in a solar eclipse? Why don't eclipses happen more frequently? Why does the Moon look red in some eclipses? These and many other questions as answered this book, one of six in the Explore Outer Space series.
Each volume attempts to explain tough topics in astronomy that baffle teachers all the time, such as solar and lunar eclipses, galaxies, nebulae, quasars, asteroids and the asteroid belt, and supernovas. Young, would–be astronomers need a good science background to understand these topics. With great pictures, photographs, and illustrations, these books fill in that background and explain those tough topics to children (and also help teachers understand those topics). Each book has an interest level appropriate to grades 3 through 6, with a reading level at grades 2–3. Many of the vocabulary words, which are defined in the glossary in the back of the book, would be challenging to most students unless they had a great interest in the topic. The webpage provided was not activated at the time of this review.
Interspersed on every other page are sidebars featuring a “That’s Out of This World” fact. For example, if the Moon's diameter were just 140 miles shorter, it would not be able to completely cover the Sun. Because total solar eclipses can only be viewed from a small area on Earth, it is estimated you'd have to wait 375 years to witness two total eclipses in the same place.
This is a great book for space enthusiasts and the photos would draw even reluctant readers in to read the book. I had two minor reservations about the text that might require some clarification. The caption under a picture on page 8 implies that Apollo 8 landed on the Moon (which it did not) and on the same page it gives the orbit period of the Earth around the Sun as 365 days (close but not correct.) Nevertheless, I highly recommend the series.
Review posted on 1/4/2013