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Find the Constellations Paperback – December 6, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—This much-needed update of Rey's classic work (Houghton, 1976) features a cleaner typeface but retains the layout and most of the graphics of the previous edition. Some images, such as the picture of a spaceship, are dated but maintain, along with the small elves who guide readers through the book, all of the original charm. The primary update, featured on the cover, involves the change in Pluto's status; a great touch is the inclusion of definitions for "planet" and "dwarf planet" to help readers understand exactly why there are now only eight planets in our solar system. Statistical data, particularly for sizes and distances between the Sun and the planets, are updated; the planet finder now covers the years 2007 through 2016; and there is a new list of books for further reading. With its enduring appeal, current information, and exceptional sky charts to help find constellations, stars, and planets, this revision should be an essential purchase for all libraries.—Jeffrey A. French, formerly at Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is very much enhanced by the cute little figures that make comments on the sidelines.
Interested sky watchers will ultimately need one or more books, with a lot more detail. This won't tell you a huge amount about the stars themselves, as it's more focused on the patterns that make up constellations and the basics of the sky. His other book The Stars is more detailed, and a good second step, but for a lot of detail, you'll also want to add in something like Nightwatch by Terrence Dickenson, or any of the other excellent, more specific guides out there. Lots of options once you have the basics down.
But here's the thing: if you don't know the constellations, most of those more complex resources will be confusing and hard to use. A lot of star guides assume you already know how to find Sagittarius and the Great Bear (Ursus Major). They assume that you can find the Big Dipper and Orion in your sleep, that you got Polaris down pat, and that they can start with pretty much any constellation and you won't be sitting there scratching your head trying to figure out how to get there when it's dark outside. This book helps solve that problem.
Also, I know this has been mentioned elsewhere, but it's worth repeating: if you live in a light-polluted area (i.e., at night you see fewer than a hundred stars with just your eyes) then expect some of the stars on his charts to be "missing" or extremely hard to find unless you are using binoculars or a telescope. H.A. Rey wrote his book in 1954, and he would have found it much easier than we do today to find a truly dark sky. Most of this book should be fine even then, but get almost any pair of binoculars (if you buy new, consider 7x50 or 10x50 from Orion or Celestron, but if you already have some start with those) and that should let you find most of the "missing" stars. Or else go find a Dark Site and do your viewing from there.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to live someplace with limited light pollution, all of the stars will be there!
That being said, the Kindle version misses the mark greatly. I already owned the paperback and thought it would be a great asset to have a copy along on trips with my young son. So I downloaded the Kindle sample and it looked pretty good. It was in color and the drawings were scaled well. However, once I purchased the full copy, I was surprised to see that the color starts to disappear the further you go into the book. The deep blue color which is so pleasingly used for the night sky in all of the paperback's drawings is replaced with a medium grey that is both illegible and unattractive. I cannot recommend this version. Just get the paperback or hardback. It's worth the space on your shelf.