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Karen MacPhersonAguilar's clear text, as well as numerous illustrations, photos and fact boxes, make outer space fun for young readers.
—The Washington Post
Aguilar, astrophysicist and artist, takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure into the universe's past, present, and future in this visually stunning work. Starting with an imaginary voyage though the solar system on a spaceship powered by nuclear fusion, readers then travel to stars, nebulas, and galaxies, all the while discovering interesting astronomical concepts such as dark matter and energy. Juxtaposing the most current scientific thinking with opportunities to explore the imaginary gives this work a unique flavor. For example, the written portions not only talk about concrete science in easy-to-understand terms, but the text also gives budding scientists an opportunity to dream about what it might be like to live in a space hotel or encounter life on other planets. In addition, the stunning scientific photographs are placed alongside computer-generated artwork by the author to help readers visualize the great expanses of space by providing extremely distinct views of the universe. Within the text, occasional sidebars are included to highlight interesting facts and explain noteworthy concepts. Concluding the work are two unique time lines, one of the solar system and the other of the history of astronomy, which put the vastness of the topic into perspective. With a powerful tone of awe and wonder throughout, this work's unique blending of fact and fiction will make it a popular addition to almost any collection for would-be scientists and futurists alike. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)
Incorporating the 2006 official restructuring of the solar system, plus recent discoveries and theories about extra solar planets, galaxies, and the history of the universe, this broad survey would make an acceptable replacement for its many outdated cousins were it not riddled with errors. Assuring readers that anyone incautious enough to step out onto the surface of Venus would be "crushed like a paper cup-or toasted," Aguilar pairs his own lively tour of the planets and contributing writers' looks at the rest of the cosmos and speculations about the future of space travel with a riveting mix of "straight" space photos and dramatic digital blends of art and photography. This is all to the good, but Galileo is labeled a "medieval astronomer," Jupiter is inaccurately dubbed "egg shaped," and different figures are given on different pages for the Sun's rate of self-consumption. Furthermore, there are discrepancies between text and pictures; Ganymede is correctly billed as larger than Earth's Moon but looks smaller in the picture, and though Neptune is said to have four rings, only three are visible in the accompanying art. Several similar titles, such as Gordon Ritter's Planets, Stars, and Galaxies (Chelsea House, 2007) are out or in the pipeline; despite high marks for reader appeal, libraries would be well advised to hold off on adding this one in hopes of a corrected reprint.
—John PetersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.