This is a marvelous resource to introduce young children to the wonders of astronomy and space. Told in simple language, it explains basic concepts about stars, planets, meteors, and space exploration. The full-color illustrations by the author enhance the learning experience and demonstrate phases of the moon, comets, meteors, constellations, and the arrangement of the planets in the solar system. The book could possibly be read independently by first and second graders; however, younger children may need help understanding some of the complex information included. This is a great book to have on hand when young children look up into the sky and ask, "Why?" 2002 (orig. 1999), Voyager Books,
Joanne Draper <%ISBN%>0152163603
PreS-Gr 1-Rockwell begins and ends with stars, but in between attempts to inform children about planets, meteors, comets, and moons. Given that there are only 22 pages of text, with 3 short sentences per page at most, it's an impossible task. The author's trademark artwork in bright colors is eye-catching but really doesn't amplify the all-too-brief narrative. Beneath a painting depicting the constellation Orion readers are told, "When we see Orion the Hunter in the sky, we know it is the season to harvest what we planted." Given that Orion is visible from October to March, that's a long harvest season. Rockwell states, "Streaks of light that look like faraway fireworks are meteors. We call them shooting stars." Fine, but what are they really, and what are children to make of the statement that, "Some stars are so far away that their fire has burned out by the time the brightness reaches us?" In an effort to provide an introduction to the young, Rockwell has simplified too much. Gail Gibbons's Stargazers (Holiday, 1992) is a better choice for this age group.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.