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Gail Gibbons has published close to fifty distinguished nonfiction titles with Holiday House. According to "The Washington Post", "Gail Gibbons has taught more preschoolers and early readers about the world than any other children's writer-illustrator." She lives in Vermont.
Gr 1-3-- A series of star-spattered night skies done in rich blues and purples gives this introduction to the universe and the practice of astronomy an appealing look. A diverse cast--ancient and modern, adults and children, scientists and amateurs--peer through lenses, or point and smile. Gibbons discusses, in short declarative sentences, the nature of stars and constellations, how to find particular ones and why they seem to move, two kinds of optical telescopes, and how a planetarium works, closing with a simple time line and a page of random star facts. As always, her illustrations are simple and clear, even when labels and lines of text are superimposed, or design constraints limit their size. However, she does take on too many topics for such a basic book. Readers are likely to be confused by incomplete explanations of twinkling and the speed of light, or the moonlike object labelled ``star,'' and her unelaborated claim that there are 88 constellations is a severe oversimplification. Still, this makes a good update for Fradin's Astronomy (Childrens, 1983) and a natural gateway to Franklyn Branley's many books. --John Peters, New York Public Library