Title: The Night SkyThe-Night-Sky
Author: Nigel Henbest
Illustrator: Michael Roffe
Pages: 64
Recommended Ages: 10 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

The Night Sky is a book in the Usborne Spotter’s Guides and as such, plays its part beautifully. It provides simplistic maps of the night sky, which are specially drawn to depict the positions of the various constellations. Each constellation is named and described and information is given as to the best time of year to look for it in each hemisphere. Also provided is information about galaxies, planetary cycles, star types, etc.

Cautions.

In the sixty-four pages of this book, six evolutionary statements are made. One was a tiny box in the corner of page seven called ‘How it all began: the Big Bang”. It gives a brief description of this supposed event. It is described again in the Glossary of terms. On page forty-nine it is stated that something happened 20,000 years ago. On three separate pages, stars are described as being multiple million years old.

My main concern came when the process of how new stars are formed was briefly described on pgs. 26 and 28. Not being an astronomer myself, I could not say whether this statement is affected by evolution or has been scientifically observed/deduced.

Stars are formed from the very tenuous hydrogen and helium gas and dust which fills space. Denser clouds of gas are called nebulae. Within them, gravitation condenses and heats up the gas until stars are formed – huge balls of hot gas, a million or more kilometers across… Newly-formed stars, like the ones on the previous page, cover a wide range, from extremely bright and hot bluish-white stars to dim, cooler ones.

Like I said, I’m no astronomer. But do stars ‘form’ at all, or were each of them created as stars? Dunno.

Conclusion. A helpful, resource which is thorough without being pedantic, The Night Sky will be loved by any of your astronomically-minded youngsters (and perhaps you as well!).

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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