A first, sweeping look at the visible universe and some of what’s in it.
That “some” ranges from galaxies, nebulas, and constellations to space junk. Each element is given a narrative voice (as in: “I am your Solar System, a huge family in space”) to supply introductions and brief descriptions of select parts or features. “Space” has the final word, but instead of directing readers’ attention outward as the rest do, it delivers only a vague and rather deflating platitude: “And you, my young scientist, are very special.” Despite featuring a cast of child astronauts and scientists that includes several with Asian features or dark skin as well as white characters, flattened perspectives and stylized renditions of, for instance, a young dreamer in a fishbowl helmet and the asteroid belt as an unrealistically dense band of gravel give the illustrations a mildly antique, mid–last-century look. Though the International Space Station and the Ariane 5 launch vehicle take narrative turns of their own, overall the focus is less on technology, the future of space exploration, or even measures of specific detail (Mars “has mountains, valleys, and windblown red dust”) than on fostering a general appreciation for the cosmos as “a wondrous place of spinning galaxies, exploding stars, and planets teeming with the unknown.”
The theme’s worthy, but the informational payload is disappointingly light. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)