The wonders of space capture the attention of many young children. Whether this interest is limited to learning the names of the planets or extends to a school-holiday visit to the planetarium, Katy Flint and Cornelia Li’s Voyage Through Space is a great launching pad to further exploration of all things cosmic. In this new hard-cover picture book aimed at children ages 5 to 8, one junior astronaut and her space dog take a journey through the solar system to visit the Sun, the planets and asteroids beyond.
Beginning at the Sun, the traveller and her companion make their way past Mercury, Venus, the Earth and the Moon, Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune to end their journey at the Kuiper belt, billions of kilometres from their starting point.
The illustrations by Cornelia Li in Voyage Through Space are bold and captivating, managing to convey a sense of the drama and action occurring on and around the celestial bodies. On each double-page spread there’s an introduction and some key characteristics that distinguish each planet from the others, and tucked inside the back cover is a glow-in-the-dark fold-out poster of the solar system.
There’s a nice mix of history and scientific fact. Did you know that every day on Jupiter is cloudy? The writing strikes a balance between simple sentences and more evocative imagery. Uranus, for example, is introduced as the seventh planet from the Sun, but we also learn that ‘beneath its blue-green clouds, scientists think diamonds fall like hailstones’.
London-based author Katy Flint’s other works include two ‘sound books’ in the Story Orchestra series (The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty) and many non-fiction titles. Cornelia Li was born in China and now lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Her illustrations have featured in the New Yorker, the Chicago Reader and Scientific American, as well as other publications.
Voyage Through Space works well as an engaging introduction to the science of our galaxy.
Reviewed by: Jo Vabolis
Rating out of 10: 8