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THE STORY OF SPACE by Catherine Barr


A First Book About Our Universe

by Catherine Barr & Steve Williams ; illustrated by Amy Husband

Pub Date: April 6th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-78603-003-0
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Barr and Williams present 13.8 billion years of cosmic history, from the Big Bang to the International Space Station and, possibly soon, flights beyond.

The co-authors write with the same enthusiasm and energy they showed in telling The Story of Life (2015) but with less regard for accuracy or internal logic. Following an inherently paradoxical opening claim that “Before the Big Bang there was….[n]o time,” they go on with a sweeping survey of the cosmos. It offers a picture of galaxies “sparkling silently” (wrong on both counts) in “bitterly cold” space (likewise wrong: space has no temperature), with incomplete references to the “freezing” atmospheres of our solar system’s other planets (Venus’ 462 C average temperature goes unmentioned) and the “cold, dusty moon” orbiting Earth (cold only on the side away from the sun). Two space-suited young explorers, one light-skinned, one dark, float through painted illustrations that progress from mighty explosions and swirling starscapes to closely packed planets, fleets of early spacecraft, a cloud of satellites, and, finally, space liners ferrying multicultural tour groups to an orbiting hotel, or maybe Mars.

Prospective space tourists should have no trouble finding a more reliable travel guide.

(glossary) (Informational picture book. 7-9)