Book Review: Under The Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime, by Lisa Harvey-Smith

Under the Stars: Bedtime Astrophysics transports curious kids and inquisitive adults on an incredible journey through the night sky.

By
An informative book full of interesting facts for anyone who is even the slightest bit interested in space.
Overall
4.5

Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning professional astronomer and professor who has loved all things space since she was 6 years old searching for Halley’s comet. She is based at the University of New South Wales. In 2018 she was appointed as the Australian Government’s Ambassador for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She has been a regular television and radio presenter and has toured Australia with her live shows.

At first look, with the simple, colourful, almost cartoon-like illustrations by Mel Matthews, you would be forgiven if you thought this was going to be a “Once upon a time” storybook. Instead it is chock full of scientific information which is explained in amazingly simple language but not in any way pampering to the lowest common denominator. The information is clear, concise and up to date.

Under the Stars is divided into chapters. The Earth, The Solar System, Extrasolar Space (who knew there was something called ‘extrasolar space’??), The Milky Way and The Universe, which are in turn split into smaller sections, each answering questions you didn’t even realise you wanted the answer to. Did you know there are weird stars in the universe called pulsars or that Uranus spins on its side, and what exactly is a quasar?

Under the Stars transports us across the universe. At the end of the book you can find links to enable you to do more research. I am sure once you have read this book you will find yourself hooked on space and all its wonders and want to find out even more. If you have a child who is constantly asking “why” this is the book to buy.

I applaud Harvey-Smith for making such a normally difficult subject simple to understand and extremely interesting. This is a perfect gift for any child (or adult) who loves space and dreams of one day going to the stars. But I would also highly recommend it specifically for any child, because once they read this book, they will be hooked on all things space.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Melbourne University Publishing
Released: October 2019
RRP: $39.99

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