Dot to Dot in the Sky ; Stories in the Stars
Reviewed: March 12, 2004
By: Joan Hinz / illustrations by Chao Yu and Jue Wang
Publisher: Whitecap Books
64 pages, $16.95
In the days before the extreme light pollution that
such a common feature of our urbanized existence it must have been more
tempting to make stories out of the stars. These days, we can hardly see
them, not to mention the fact that many of the brighter objects in the
sky are man made satellites any way.
Be that as it may, there remains a fair amount if
interest in constellations, not just the twelve that make up the Zodiac,
but the 88 official dot-to-dot pictures that have been recognized by the
International Astronomical Union since 1930.
Hinzís book follows the Greek pantheon of constellations,
making this a northern hemisphere book. I understand that the southern
hemisphere has its own way of looking at these things. The text does acknowledge
variations of interpretation, indicating that other cultures have other
images that they see in the sky. These are, however, the ones that have
populated the Western imagination for centuries, so it is certainly legitimate
to celebrate them in this way.
I like the organization of this book. While there
is a star chart of all the major constellations at the back of the book,
Hinz and her collaborators have concentrated on 15 which are more on less
in the center of the sky, moving from one to the next so that you can see
the relationships among them.
Each constellation is well illustrated and accompanied
by the story that accounts for its origin. Sidebars provide extra information
about stars, or about space in general. There is a checklist of all the
constellations, a star map, a glossary and an index, making this a very
useful primer on the subject. No reading level is indicated, but this is
not a book for the very young. Middle grades would find it accessible,
but it should still be of interest to older students.