HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Secret Galaxy: A Tilbury House Nature Book
Author: Fran Hodgkins
Photographer: Mike Taylor
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers, 2014
Related website: http://www.tilburyhouse.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 6-11
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hodgkins, Fran. The Secret Galaxy: A Tilbury House Nature Book (published in 20214 by Tilbury House Publishers, 12 Starr St., Thomaston, ME 04861). Do you know what a galaxy is? And do you know what galaxy our solar system is in? A galaxy is a very large system of stars. Earth, the sun, and the other planets of our solar system are on one arm of the Milky Way galaxy, a huge disk-shaped spiral. Other stars in the Milky Way galaxy make up such constellations as Orion and the Big Bear. Do you know why it is called the Milky Way? Author Fran Hodgkins writes as if the Milky Way galaxy itself were telling its own story. In addition, each opening has sidebars filled with amazing facts and insights about our galaxy, including its stars, planets, nebulae, super novae, black holes, dark matter, and dark energy.
There is a lot about the Milky Way that we know, but there are also many secrets. What happens inside a black hole? What exactly are dark matter and dark energy? And what will happen in our galaxy next? As a youngster, I was always fascinated by the stars, and I suspect that this is also true of most children. The book does talk about things that are said to have happened millions and billions of years ago, but, of course, there are many scientists who think in those terms. However, Mike Taylor’s magnificent night sky photography and the breathtaking NASA images of the births and deaths of stars and galaxies help to make outer space come alive for readers. The Secret Galaxy, a Junior Library Guild selection, will be of interest to all students, but it will be especially useful for the budding stargazer or astronomer.