3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The World Around Us (Paperback)
This is a great book for children. It covers many different subjects from history to astronomy devoting each double page spread to a different subject. Even though there is not a huge amount of text you will pick up a surprising amount of detail in each page from reading the text and browsing the captions (which are usually digressions onto other interesting facts on the topic). It is amazing how much information is condensed in there!
For instance in the double page spread on 'The Vital Sun' there is some text about the Sun and its importance to life on Earth and how ancient cultures worshipped it. There are small diagrams with captions talking about the sun's life cycle from interstellar gas cloud to red supergiant 5 billion years hence. A small illustration about nuclear fusion ('what makes the sun shine'). A diagram showing how the magnetic field protects from solar wind. And the backdrop of the page is a huge diagram of the sun to scale with a picture of the Earth. A diagram so huge it overlaps onto the next page where it provides scale to diagrams of the planets in the Solar System pages!
So each page is a packed with information while never really straying from a very simple format. It is beautifully illustrated throughout by the author and you get the feeling this must have been a labour of love in many ways from the fact that the title page has an illustration of the author gazing out of his window from his writing desk. Then the next page is the view of Geneva from his window. In fact the whole tone of the book is that of the author's own inquisitive voice summed up by his preface where he describes every human as a star at the centre of their own personal universe.
A very cool touch that I love is the fact that the whole book has a ruler running at the bottom of each page which provides scales. One is a scaled ruler that represents cosmic distances to scale such as Earth-Sun distance to scale with pictures of the two on the inside and back covers. If laid out to the 26.5 metres of the pages of the book end-to-end this would represent the cosmic distances between the two. At the top is a time scale from 5 billion years of Earth's history with prominent periods marked out. Humans in fact only appear in the final 2cm on the last page!
Overall, it is highly recommended.