Older Than the Stars
Karen C. Fox, author
Karen C. Fox has been a full-time science writer for almost two decades. Covering subjects such as physics and astronomy, Karen has written for several publications, including Science Magazine, Discover, and Popular Mechanics. She also was employed as the producer and writer of Science Report Radio at the American Institute of Physics.
Read more about Karen.
Nancy Davis, illustrator
Nancy Davis is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer whose work can be seen on greeting cards and learning tools for children. She is also the illustrator of Flicker Flash (Houghton Mifflin) and A Garden of Opposites (Schwartz & Wade), which she also wrote. Nancy lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Read more about Nancy.
- Parents Magazine's 20 Best Children's Books
- NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
- ILA/CBC Children's Choices
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Kirkus Reviews, starred review
In this appealing picture-book introduction to cosmology, a cumulative rhyme presents the "big bang" theory of the origin and development of the universe and the idea that humans, along with everything else, are made of star stuff. Each double-page spread is illustrated with Davis's lively supportive graphics done with pencil, cut paper and prints and digitally composed; each includes a breezy paragraph of more comprehensive explanation. The pages explode with color: vibrant oranges, yellows, pinks, purples and grayed greens. At first the "House that Jack Built" text tumbles, too, becoming more orderly as the chaos of the beginning structures itself into stars, the Earth and finally its inhabitants. A final timeline summarizes the chronological narrative, balancing 300,000 years on the left with nearly five billion years on the right but noting that it is not done to scale. A glossary offers more precise definitions of the terms used. The simple but effective presentation of a complicated theoretical model, the most commonly accepted explanation of the universe's beginnings, will delight early readers and listeners with its personal connection.
School Library Journal
Fox and Davis tackle the challenge of creating an engaging read-aloud about the Big Bang theory with energy and style. Employing the structure of a familiar nursery rhyme, the text takes readers through the steps of the universe's expansion: "This is the BANG when the world began./ These are the bits that were born in the bang when the world began." A text box on each spread offers a clear, concise explanation of what happened in that particular stage of the universe. Fittingly, the illustrations start off chaotically, relying on abstract blobs of color and use of textual design. Gradually, as the universe orders itself, the artwork resolves into familiar shapes: the Earth, animals, people. Both author and illustrator hang the child appeal of the book on the concept that the same atoms present at the beginning of the universe make up our world today; in essence, each child is "as old as the universe itself." Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano's Big Bang! The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck That Became Spectacular (Charlesbridge, 2005) also offers a child-friendly take on the theory, but Older Than the Stars will appeal to even younger students with its nursery-rhyme-style text and simple, clear explanations. Perfect for the classroom, this is an intriguing introduction to a difficult-to-understand concept.
Older Than the Stars provokes readers with this philosophical and somewhat scientific statement: "You are as old as the universe." This is an informational book about the universe, in which the reader's existence is connected to the history of the universe--from the big bang to now. Dynamic illustrations and side-note texts create such mood that readers might feel as if they are in an observatory. Descriptive and expressive language about universe creation may engage young readers with astronomical concepts and encourage them to start connecting themselves to the universe.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-187-1 PDF
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2