These three slender, black-covered books published in conjunction with the BBC and The Learning Channel form a new series on space. The volumes are filled with beautiful color photographs, charts, diagrams, stellar maps, and full-spread artists' renderings of outer space. Each chapter begins with a one-page introduction in a gray font larger than that of the rest of the chapter. Unfortunately, the color choice makes these sections less easy to read. All three volumes are individually indexed, and contain further information sections that include books, monthly British and American magazines, and diverse global Web sites. The inclusion of glossaries might have made these books more useful to a researching student or puzzled reader. Each book covers a slightly different aspect of space. Stars describes the various types of stars, their life cycles, what happens after stars die, and how humans see stars. Comets focuses on the debris of space, how comets formed, the roles they have played in the world's myth and history, and the dangers that they present to Earth. The Big Bang begins by describing the historical context for the understanding of the origin of the universe and discusses present and future questions scientists hope to answer. This series is well written but dense: "The cloud is the result of a vastly extended and complex game of three-dimensional billiards. The Solar System was filled with comets, which were gradually either swept up by the Sun and the planets or catapulted by gravitational interaction out of the Solar System entirely or into a sort of cometary graveyard, the Oort Cloud." These books are not for the beginning science reader. They are, however, fascinatingsources of richly detailed information. Science-minded high school students seeking to expand their understanding, whether for an assignment or for their own pleasure, will welcome these books. The familiar publisher's logo probably will attract others who might not choose them otherwise. The series is a fine addition for public and high school libraries that want the latest information on outer space in an attractive, readable, albeit complex form. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, DK, 96p, $12.95. Ages 15 to 18. Reviewer: Gillian Wiseman SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Adult/High School-Solid introductions to aspects of the solar system. Published in connection with the BBC, these books discuss the creation of these elements, how ancient peoples viewed them, and the current theories about and endeavors in space exploration to understand them. The discussion in Big Bang stresses science versus faith. Numerous eye-catching, full-color photographs from modern cameras and computer diagrams show sights and explain concepts better than words could ever accomplish. However, this format can be confusing as pictures and graphic inserts interrupt the flow of the text. Related works of art are also shown. All illustrations are so well captioned that casual browsers will learn without even reading the text. They will also notice the large-print inserts of quotes and related trivia. An understanding of chemistry and physics will help more advanced students gain the most from these resources, but they are written in such a manner that younger students will benefit from them also.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.