CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 7 . . . . January 5, 2001
"A constellation is a group of stars that appears to form a picture. There are 88 different constellations. Some look like animals, some look like objects, and a few even resemble people. The Big Dipper looks like a ladle, or dipper, that is used to serve soup from a pot. People who live north of the equator see different constellations than those who live south of the equator. Constellations that appear in summer are different from those that can be seen in winter. As the Earth orbits the Sun, we get a different view of space. Pages can be seen from the northern hemisphere at the times listed under pictures. The dots represent stars. The size of the dot tells us how bright the star is. The larger the dot, the brighter the star."This title is one of a four book series entitled "Eye on the Universe." Other titles include Satellites and Space Probes, The Space Shuttle and The Moon. This book introduces various astronomical phenomena visible from earth, including the sun, stars, comets, the moon, eclipses, and auroras. Each of the fourteen topics is given a two-page spread with photographs or illustrations on each page.
Each spread is written in clear, concise language suitable for younger readers. Illustrations or photographs are clearly identified and described. For example, page 10 on "A Star is Born" shows a picture of a nebula with the description, "A nebula looks thick and dense like a cotton ball, but it is actually misty like stem from a kettle. It looks thick because the particles of dust and gas are lit by the stars around it."
Each spread is colourful with a border of yellow stars around each page. Illustrations are extremely well done and appropriate. They add interest to the text and could be useful for research or interest on their own. Younger or reluctant readers would be able to read the descriptor and enjoy the illustrations without reading the text. The text is in slightly larger print and is well explained.
The book can be enjoyed on many levels, and the format is appealing for the intended age level. In addition to a Table of Contents, the book also includes a glossary and index. Bolded words in the text are found in the glossary. The language is appropriate and suitable for the intended age level while the format would also make the book very suitable for modified students who need high interest low vocabulary material. The information tends to be very brief and to the point which would increase its value as a beginning research tool.
Cosmic Light Shows would be an excellent addition to public, school and personal libraries for reluctant readers and general readers in the early and middle years. The binding is library quality making this title an excellent purchase.
Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian and a grade 12 English teacher at W. P. Sandin Composite High School in Shellbrook, SK.
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