- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 2 Updated edition (December 6, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0544763440
- ISBN-13: 978-0544763449
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stars: A New Way to See Them Paperback – December 6, 2016
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Top Customer Reviews
This is my all-time favorite book from my youth. I have many, many memeories of me and my dad spending hours up on the roof at night, looking at this book through our red-painted flashlight, naming the stars and tracing the constellations. We did this at least once a week for several years, during all seasons. Even to this day, almost 40 years later, I look up in the sky and immediately see old and comforting friends that haven't changed since then. And I feel like I know where I am.
Then during college, I took a photocopy of the book to Kenya, where I lived for a semester in the bush. This time, Kenya being on the equator, I had the pleasure of meeting new friends; the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Way cool.
I have given this book as a gift to friends, children of friends, just about anyone who I have seen glancing into the nightime sky.
So now I just bought myself a brand new copy; I'm going to Sri Lanka to help with disaster relief and, alas, my original cloth-bound hardcover 1962 edition is just to old to make the journey with me. However, I am very eager to re-aquaint myself with those friends I first made back in the African sky.
I have to say that Rey's method for showing the constellations outdoes everyone elses: Gemeni looks like two stick figures (note the cover illustration), Orion a hunter, Scorpio a scorpion, etc. Every other illustration I have ever seen has shown the constellations as apparently random lines between random points. This makes it nearly impossible to see the constellations for what they are. And I don't understand why other publication such as magazines and newspapers don't use Rey's system. Copyright issues, perhaps?
This book is an amazing gift that will inspire you and/or your kids, and it's a great way to spend time and bond with him/her/them. I take it whenever I travel, and I always find it is a great way to get people, young and old, curious, excited, and interacting. I can't speak highly enough.
Rey's method of teaching Astronomy is to keep things as simple and basic as possible. If all you want to do is recognize the constellations in the sky and know when to see them, then you read the first three chapters. If you want to learn a bit more about celestial mechanics, then you read further. You learn as much as you want to. Rey's outlines of the constellations are innovative in that that really LOOK like what the constellations are supposed to represent. The first time I used this book to find constellations (at age eight) I was able to pick out a few even in the light polluted skies of the SF Bay Area.
The only criticism that I have for this book (which only popped up when I reached adulthood) is that in order to draw some of his realistic outlines of the constellations, Rey needed to incorporate a number of faint stars that can only be seen in areas that have very dark skies at night. Under such conditions there are so many stars peppering the heavens (that are not on Rey's charts) that an amateur could be overwhelmed and get lost. Despite this quibbling, I still consider this book to be the best introductory work on Astronomy around, no matter what age the reader. I've seen lots of other "Astronomy 101" books--some are good, some are great, but after 50 years of being in print, "The Stars" has yet to be beat.
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