Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Simon Rogers
Illustrator: Jennifer Daniel
Publisher: Big Picture Press
What is the universe? How did it begin and how did it evolve to what it is today? This book covers seven key topics of astronomy including the universe, galaxies and stars, the solar system, the sun, the earth and the moon, observing space, and our exploration of space. Each section illustrates the main concepts of the topic. For example, the chapter about the universe answers questions starting from what scientists identify as the beginning of time.
Each chapter in this book covers some main concepts for that topic, but doesn’t go into depth on any particular issue. While the majority of the graphics help the reader to grasp the concepts better, many are simply confusing. The graphics for star life cycles and galaxy types fail to provide any useful information; the illustrated bar galaxy doesn’t seem to have a bar at its center. There are a few cases of incorrect information as well. The arms of spiral galaxies, for instance, are not “formed as the galaxy spins” but are merely an illusion created by groups of younger brighter stars that are separated by older stars. Many of the comparisons the author uses don’t help the reader to better comprehend the universe. The power of the sun being 386 billion megawatts is just as hard to relate to as knowing that it is the equivalent of 7,000 trillion 60-watt light bulbs. Overall, this book has merit as a general introduction to simple concepts of astronomy and includes many graphics that help to convey many of these concepts, but it could be greatly improved in a few areas.