Gr 1-3-- A series of star-spattered night skies done in rich blues and purples gives this introduction to the universe and the practice of astronomy an appealing look. A diverse cast--ancient and modern, adults and children, scientists and amateurs--peer through lenses, or point and smile. Gibbons discusses, in short declarative sentences, the nature of stars and constellations, how to find particular ones and why they seem to move, two kinds of optical telescopes, and how a planetarium works, closing with a simple time line and a page of random star facts. As always, her illustrations are simple and clear, even when labels and lines of text are superimposed, or design constraints limit their size. However, she does take on too many topics for such a basic book. Readers are likely to be confused by incomplete explanations of twinkling and the speed of light, or the moonlike object labelled ``star,'' and her unelaborated claim that there are 88 constellations is a severe oversimplification. Still, this makes a good update for Fradin's Astronomy (Childrens, 1983) and a natural gateway to Franklyn Branley's many books. --John Peters, New York Public Library
In a simple, straightforward text, Gibbons explains what stars are and how people observe them. She describes several major constellations, outlining the shapes that suggested their names, and details the differences between refracting and reflecting telescopes. As always, Gibbons' distinctive, full-color artwork appeals to both eye and mind. Many illustrations are labeled (with specialized words defined), adding both clarity and substance to the text. Although other titles may offer more information, this will make a good introduction for the uninitiated observer. Appended with a list of star facts and a stargazing chronology.