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Constellations: A Glow-in-the-Dark Guide to the Night Sky

by Chris Sasaki; Alan Flinn, illus.

Constellations has a number of unique features that will hook readers young and old. The endpapers display a sky map of the major constellations in our galaxy, which serves as both a table of contents and a reference point during the reading of the book. Following a brief introduction in which the night sky is likened to a storybook, astronomy teacher and author Chris Sasaki presents a variety of myths that explain the names of individual constellations. While the myths are related in clear, relatively short sentences, their brevity and the inclusion of numerous character names might make some of them challenging for young children to appreciate as a story.

Each myth is accompanied by an impressive illustration of a mythical creature or hero drawn in bold lines and colours, giving a three-dimensional effect. Superimposed on the illustration are white, shiny stars configured in the shape of the constellation as it would appear in the night sky. This shape becomes more evident and dramatic when you view the pages in a dark closet – the stars actually glow in the dark. All of this is set against a textured dark blue and turquoise background spackled with stars, which gives the impression of the illustration floating in space.

The book concludes with three hands-on activities for creating new constellations or viewing existing ones, as well as an index. While young children will no doubt be excited by these activities, they will need assistance reading this book.

But Constellations is not just a book. It’s a companion that should accompany you on a warm summer’s night as you lie on the grass and enjoy the night sky.