In another stellar performance, the creators of The Space Atlas tackle a mystifying phenomenonblack holes, which the kid-tailored narrative descriptively refers to as "ravenous monsters lurking in secret places" and "the ultimate sinks of the cosmos." Deftly distilled brief blocks of text and captions accompany technically sophisticated photographs and painstakingly detailed, realistic art, while diagrams further clarify the concepts introduced. Using the publisher's trademark visually-oriented format, the authors examine the roles of such luminaries as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking in piecing together the intricate puzzle explaining the formation, composition and power of black holes. Among the many tantalizing issues raised are a theory that "wormholes" or "tamed" black holes may provide the key to traveling through time, and the notion that our universe itself is a giant black hole. Notable design features include a double-spread fold-out at the book's midpoint; abundant use of dramatic black backgrounds; and a snazzy jacket with a diecut black hole. Ages 12-up. (May)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Black holes are one of the most mysterious objects in the cosmos. They may control the fate of our whole Universe. This subject is explored with text and illustration from an historic perspective, as well as scientific and hypothetical. (Although highly unlikely, what would happen if you fell into a black hole?) One of the most intriguing concepts explored is the wormhole, or using antigravity and a black hole for travel to another universe. Which of course is followed by a discussion of time travel. Stephen Hawking's work is discussed, as well as quasars and the techniques astronomers use to track black holes. This exciting book will challenge the intellect and imagination.
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
This visual treatment of what Couper and Henbest call "the most mysterious objects in the cosmos" shares with young people a feeling of excitement about astronomy. Black holes, still theoretical, are the stuff of science fiction-and authors take the reader on the probable fate of an astronaut who has fallen into a black hole. Also discussed are wormholes, which may help us travel to the far reaches of the galaxy, through time, and even into other universes. The complex information comes as much through illustrations as from the text, presupposing a rudimentary knowledge of astronomy. However, some of the captions do not fit the illustrations-a caption referring to pulsars states that "a pinhead of pulsar materials would weigh a million tons (tonnes)-twice as much as the world's biggest supertanker." The accompanying illustration is of only one supertanker. While this is a minor detail, in a book that relies so heavily on the visual, it becomes crucial to the success of the book. At times the reader must look carefully to figure out which illustration matches which caption. Finally, each double-page spread is crammed with so much information, and so many diagrams, illustration, captions, sidebars, font sizes, and italics that the whole becomes chaotic rather than ordered. There is little white space in which the reader can ponder the marvels of the universe. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P J S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Gr 4-6Welcome to the cosmos of black holes, white holes and wormholes; quasars, blazars, machos, and radio galaxies. Swerving and spiraling through shoals of white-on-black captions, Corbella's painted stars and singularities shrink, expand, schematically warp space and time, emit rays of elementary particles, and open gateways to other universes. It's nearly all speculative, of course, but Couper and Henbest, both eminent and prolific science writers, summarize the astrophysical principles and observations that make these mind- and space-bending events at least feasible: the theories of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Kip Thorne; the life cycle of stars; the effects of gravity on matter and space. They "follow" an astronaut and conclude with the idea that our universe may itself be a black hole. The level of detail is cursory to the point of confusion. Readers are left to wonder whether the orbits of all the planets precess like Mercury's, and to interpret for themselves the announcement that "all black holes evaporate"and it's nearly impossible to find order in the barrage of infobite captions. However, young scientists who want to know more than what the same authors had to say on the topic in Space Atlas (Harcourt, 1992) will be sucked in by the dramatic illustrations.John Peters, New York Public Library
The authors provide a wonderfully readable introduction to a complicated subject, displayed to advantage in the publisher's trademark format--chunks of text with lots of pictures scattered across double-page spreads. Explanations of scientific principles related to black holes and fascinating supporting evidence for science-fiction-like phenomena, such as worm holes, are clearly presented, and an assortment of fine illustrations makes difficult concepts--among them, dark matter, singularities, and relativity--not only understandable but also easier to visualize. Complex terms are explained in the text and redefined in an extensive glossary. A worthwhile addition to science classroom and library collections.