Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations

Overview

National Geographic’s stunning rendition of the constellations’ glittering lightshow is now available in paperback.

Take an illuminating ride through the starry night sky, and learn how the heavens pay tribute to the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Once Upon a Starry Night explains the ten ancient figures whose legends are written large across the universe. Every page shines with Christina Balit’s vibrant art, studded with shiny stars, and ...

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Overview

National Geographic’s stunning rendition of the constellations’ glittering lightshow is now available in paperback.

Take an illuminating ride through the starry night sky, and learn how the heavens pay tribute to the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Once Upon a Starry Night explains the ten ancient figures whose legends are written large across the universe. Every page shines with Christina Balit’s vibrant art, studded with shiny stars, and provides the perfect backdrop to Jacqueline Mitton’s poetic text.

Presents facts about stars, nebulas, galaxies, and constellations and recounts the Greek myths that provided widely-known names for ten constellations, from Andromeda to Pegasus.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an enticing riot of color and detail" — School Library Journal
The Washington Post
This beautiful book encourages children to "Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!" in Gerard Manley Hopkins's words, by portraying the night sky as "a vast picture book . . . a realm of kings and queens, gods, heroes, and mystical creatures." — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
In their third astronomical adventure together, the creators of Zoo in the Sky and Kingdom of the Sun introduce youngsters to both constellations and their mythology with Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton, illus. by Christina Balit. The text brims with taut, sparkling dramatizations, as with the entry for Argo: " `Bring me the sacred golden Fleece!' commanded Jason's scheming uncle (secretly thinking, `He'll die if he tries.')." The artwork makes an impact, too, with silver foil stars that mark the constellations, set within swirling, vivid paintings that provide a context. A compelling introduction to the stars and the ancient stories they inspired. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The lure of the night sky has been with mankind for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks told tales of gods, kings and queens, heroes, and mythical beasts. Dotting the night sky are scores of these figures, many of whom angered or honored the gods that put them there. From the vain Cassiopeia to the hero Jason comes a blend of mythology and astronomical fact about nine constellations. A majestic bird holds the lyre that once belonged to Orpheus who, glancing back at the world of the dead, lost his young wife forever. Pegasus, who rose from the blood of Medusa, was rewarded a place in the sky for loyal service. The artwork is stunning! Playful patterns are set on bold colors and the figures dance across the pages with grace and fluidity. Sparkling silver stars highlight the relationship to the historical figures. A map of the night sky and a double fold page explanation of astronomical facts accompany the text. Young children are sure to be fascinated by such engaging work. 2003, National Geographic, Ages 6 to 9.
—Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Another welcome entry from the duo that collaborated on Zoo in the Sky (1998) and Kingdom of the Sun (2001, both National Geographic). The stories come from the Greek and Roman pantheon of gods, goddesses, monsters, and myths, from Cassiopeia to Andromeda, and Perseus to Pegasus. The 10 tales are condensed into a few paragraphs each, which hardly do them justice, but may send children off to investigate further. Each lush, nearly double-page spread is an enticing riot of color and detail that almost overshadows superimposed shiny foil stars delineating the constellations. Endpapers of the Northern and Southern skies help elucidate the stars' arrangement in the night sky. Additional constellations are included in the star maps, with those considered in the book highlighted in red. Two pages of end material discuss astronomical topics in more detail. This title is a welcome addition to any library.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This team of British astronomer and artist offer another winner in the stars-for-kids department. Mitton manages lucid and extremely brief stories of Orion, Hercules, Andromeda, and so on, and Balit illustrates them in rich velvet colors and often fanciful detail. Ophiuchus (Asclepius) wrestles a crested, scaled serpent; Orion bears a club and wears a lion skin. Silver foil highlights the stars of each constellation in the figures so they do indeed glow, and that adds to the splendid design. Endpapers diagram northern and southern skies with all the constellations. The text closes with brisk, clear definitions of some of the "night sky objects" discussed. Though the stories are extremely abbreviated, this is an attractive beginning. (Nonfiction. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426303913
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 1/13/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 532,352
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Jacqueline Mitton holds an MA in Physics from the University of Oxford and a Doctorate in Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. She lives in London, England.

Christina Balit studied at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in England. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Festival Hall. Her illustrations grace Zoo in the Sky and The Planet Gods also by Jacqueline Mitton.

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