“To Infinity and Beyond,” indeed.




A close look at the Hubble and a selection of the very distant astronomical wonders it has brought into view.

Placed into orbit in 1990, the HST “boldly ushered us into a new golden age of astronomy,” Dickinson and Read write, “and introduced us to a universe that is awesome, chaotic and mysterious.” The ensuing photo album makes good on these claims, beginning with lambent portraits of local planets and moons—often in revealing sequences to show changes over time—and going on to literally spectacular views of immense star clusters and nurseries, turbulent nebulas, swarms of galaxies clustered or colliding, and, in a final section titled “To Infinity and Beyond,” a panorama of the deepest star field yet observed. Most are Hubble photos, but the authors freely acknowledge that some, such as the recent (2019) first direct glimpse of a black hole, are not, or not entirely. Though most of the images come with descriptive notes, at one point the narrative is reduced to no more than identifying labels, which encourages lingering over the visual majesty on display. In an opening section, separate enough from the rest to have its own glossary, the authors describe each of the Hubble’s instruments and introduce other space telescopes. Though in essence a boiled-down version of Dickinson’s more-expansive Hubble’s Universe (second ed. 2017), there is more than enough here to sate young sky watchers with an appetite for jaw-dropping space photography.

“To Infinity and Beyond,” indeed. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-2281-0233-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.



Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.



Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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