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Becklake, Sue.

Illustrated by Brian Delf and Luciano Corbella. Toronto, Macmillan, 1988. 64pp, cloth. $14.95. ISBN 0-7715-9636-7. (Windows on the World series). CIP

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Eve Williams

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

Space: Stars, Planets and Spacecraft reveals our universe in well-designed double-page spreads. Beginning— logically—on earth, we move out into the night sky via space travel, space flights, out past the moon, through our solar system, out into the stars, and on to the galaxies. On the way we digress to discuss planet Earth, living in space, space suits, asteroids and comets.

There are several attractive features to this book. The key word is its conciseness. Sue Becklake, without being patronizing or condescending, describes difficult processes and concepts clearly and concisely. Her explanation of the expanding universe theory is the best I have ever seen. Her definitions are super.

The book does not work on the premise that NASA is the only space agency in the world. The ARIANE rockets, the MIR Space Station, and satellites launched by several nations are discussed. A broad picture of space exploration is given.

Two fine illustrators, Delf and Corbella, provide crisp and clear pictures. I particularly liked the section on space flight. Troublesome details such as payload bay, booster rockets, and the whole sequence of take-off, orbit and landing are explained pictorially.

Becklake explains that astronomers do not know but can only work out what they think happens in space. Throughout the book are "tips" or explanatory notes on sky watching (away from street lights), making do with binoculars if you do not have access to a telescope, and much more.

So, all in all, this is an excellent basic book on space. If you are looking for a book suitable for grades 6 and up on outer space, then look no further. It would also be suitable in a high school library because low-achieving and L.D. students would not be overwhelmed by overly thorough explanations of complex concepts. Highly recommended as an updated basic book on space.

Eve Williams, Dr. LB. MacNoughton, High School, Moncton, N.B.
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