School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-5-Despite its title, this series not only profiles just a fraction of the 88 official constellations, but also includes volumes on both the Big and Little Dippers, which actually are "asterisms," or parts of larger formations. Still, the author delivers brief, coherent descriptions of all four stellar figures in different seasons. She summarizes their mythological origins, notes some alternative identities given them by non-European cultures, focuses on notable stars or other astronomical phenomena within them, and in each book takes up a special topic: the zodiac in Pisces, for instance; the stellar life cycle in Orion. Unfortunately, many of the boxed "Fun Facts" and picture captions regale readers with misinformation: our sun is considerably more than "100 times bigger than Earth!" (Big Dipper), stars are vastly more than "hundreds of thousands of miles apart!" (Little Dipper), a nebula in Orion is mislabeled as a star, and the writer seems unaware that if the star Betelgeuse exploded today, the event would take some 600 years to become visible here. The full-page illustrations are a mix of fanciful old sky maps, modern space photos, and occasional filler. All in all, a promising series, marred by conceptual and factual flaws.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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