Friday, September 29, 2017

Ultimate Space Atlas - a review

Just in time for World Space Week (October 4-10), 
 here's a review of Nat Geo's Ultimate Space Atlas.


Ultimate Space Atlas
by Carolyn DeCristofano
National Geographic Kids, 2017


Let me begin by saying that a space atlas inspired my eldest daughter to become a rocket scientist by the age of 20 (see note below).  It doesn't matter what your child's age may be.  If you have a space enthusiast (or any kind of enthusiast), nurture and feed that enthusiasm. Follow it wherever it leads.

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas is a picture book-sized, softcover atlas.  It's small and light enough to take with you on car trips, vacations, etc.  That's the beauty of an atlas.  The reader can invest as much or as little time as she wants—scan the Cool Facts, enjoy the images, or read more in-depth passages about constellations, lunar phases, favorite planets, or the possibility of life in space.

Immediately following the Table of Contents is the very helpful section "How to Use This Atlas." Despite this being the digital age, using an atlas is a useful exercise in learning how to group, classify, and present information.  The same skills that are used in creating an atlas, are those used in creating research papers, PowerPoint presentations, essays, and more. An atlas helps a child to process the questions:
  • What information do I have?
  • What portion of that information do I want to share?
  • What is my purpose in sharing it?
  • What is the best way for me to present it? 
But enough of librarian geekery, the point is that the atlas is organized into tabbed sections, Sky-High, Observing Space, Inner Solar System, Outer Solar System, Our Galaxy and Beyond, and Mapping Space.  Each section contains similar insets against a background of images - natural photographs, colorized images, and artistic impressions. The lack of glossy pages takes away a bit of space's luster, but space is magnificent even in matte finish. A few pages of fun activities round out the atlas and will suffice to keep a child occupied while waiting for dinner at a restaurant.

Ultimate Space Atlas includes:
  • Table of contents
  • How to Use section
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Seven tabbed chapters 
  • Credits

You can download a National Geographic Kids fun pack here.


Note:
If you'd be interested in learning how an old space atlas inspired my daughter to become a rocket scientist by the age of 20, please jump over to this post I wrote back in 2013. [http://kidlitwhm.blogspot.com/2013/03/yes-you-can.html]



My review copy of Ultimate Space Atlas was provided by the publisher's publicity agent.

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