Space and Time

Mysterious Matters: The Beginning
Mysterious Matters: Amazing Stars
by Grandma Andee Georgion
(Grandee Press Ltd)
The Beginning starts with silence – the silence that preceded the Big Bang – and introduces the idea that everything in our world, including us, is made from the stuff of stars. The book is slim but each of its 16 pages is beautifully presented with text designed to capture children’s imaginations and make them want to know more. Even very young children can enjoy this.
Amazing Stars starts where The Beginning leaves off, and looks at stars, comets, planets and the sound of the universe. It’s slightly longer than the first book and the ideas and language are more challenging. As a result, it’s not so suitable for very young children but great for older ones.
These are the first two books in the Mysterious Matters series. The third, Brain Power, is about your brain so it doesn’t fit on this page.
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Voyage across the Cosmos
by Giles Sparrow
This book has more wow factor than any other I’ve seen for quite a while. I can guarantee that, if I leave it lying around, visitors of all ages will soon be turning its pages. Its size helps it to be noticed and so does the silver lettering for the title, but what really makes this book stand out is its stunning illustrations.
As the title suggests, the book is written as if it’s guiding you on a real journey, starting with the solar system, then on through the Milky Way and beyond. Information abouut the planets and stars you encounter is presented as if it’s on a computer screen including cut away drawings to show planetary structure and warning buttons for hazard analysis and surface temperature. This is sure to fascinate older children and adults who are interested in space and the stars.
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The Time and Space of Uncle Albert
Black Holes and Uncle Albert
Uncle Albert and the Quantum Quest
by Russell Stannard
(Faber and Faber)
Uncle Albert is a famous scientist with a difference. He can think so hard that his thought bubble can carry his niece, Gedanken, on journeys through space, the universe and even (in the third book) somewhere remarkably like Alice’s rabbit hole. As the titles suggest, these travels explore various physics topics in an enjoyable way with Uncle Albert providing easy to follow explanations of complex topics like curved space, black holes and diffraction. The fantasy appoach makes the books more entertaining than straight non-fiction and breaks the information into easily digestible chunks. However the story is driven by the investigation rather than a strong underlying plot so is unlikely to ‘appeal to children uninterested in science.. These books are best suited to able readers who like to ask ‘why’ and don’t mind having to think hard to understand the answers.
Ages 10 to 13
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Buy Black Holes from Amazon
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Ask Uncle Albert
by Russell Stannard
(Faber and Faber)
The success of the Uncle Albert books (above) has brought Russell Standard a stream of questions about science from young readers. This book includes 101 of them including ‘why is water wet?’, ‘when did time start?’ and ‘why do cats eat mice?’. The first 100 have answers that provide straightforward explanations of the science involved without the fantasy element in the
other books. The last question (Why does gravity exist?) receives an honest admission of the limit of current scientific knowledge. – even the author doesn’t know. An enjoyable book for able readers curious about the world around them, including any who don’t like the fantasy  approach of the other books. The question and answer format makes it easy to dip into so it may tempt competent but otherwise reluctant readers.
Ages 10 upwards
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