Review Blog

Nov 07 2019

Under the stars: astrophysics for bedtime by Lisa Harvey-Smith

cover image

Illus. by Mel Mathews. Melbourne University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780522876086.
(Age: Children/Teenage) Recommended. Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith was appointed in 2018 as the Australian Government's Ambassador for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She has written a book that demonstrates both her expertise in STEM and her ability to communicate with children and teens in a fun way. Mel Matthews' fun and colorful illustrations complement the text beautifully.
Under the stars invites us to explore the night sky, especially our solar system and includes interesting and unusual facts about life on earth. It poses questions that will intrigue and captivate readers, e.g. did you know that a day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus? Questions are posed and sometimes answered in every chapter, involving the reader in some lateral thinking. I love the chapter headings that are sure to draw readers into the book, e.g.'Comets - the hairy stars of doom'; 'The wonky reasons for seasons'; 'How your eyes make stargazing extraordinary', etc.
Whilst the book is great to read aloud some children will be absorbed and read straight through by themselves and others will browse and just take the information they need. An index would have been useful but the chapter headings will take readers where they need to go.
Under the stars abounds with knowledge but also engenders feelings of wonder at the amazing universe in which we live. A good book on so many levels.
Jan Barwick

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