Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: The Solar System Through Infographics, by Nadia Higgins

Title: The Solar System Through Infographics
Author: Nadia Higgins
Illustrator: Lisa Waananen
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication Date: August 2013*
* NetGalley states a pub. date of November 2013, but Amazon shows 1 August 2013
Read: August 2013
Where It Came From: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley*
Genre: Kid's Non-fiction
Rating: 4 Champagne Supernovas

What’s Shakin’, Bacon?

I requested this from the publisher on a whim because I. Love. Infographics. What is an infographic, you say? It’s a way of depicting information (be it statistics, facts, concepts, survey results, what have you) through a visual medium that helps it all make sense, often involving flowcharts, graphs, illustrations, and things like that. It’s info conveyed using graphics—info, graphic, INFOGRAPHIC! Makes sense, yes? Here, I will show you:

I did not make this infographic; it came from Goodreads. I wish I had the mad skillz to make infographics like this (or at all). You can click the image to read the whole original post, if you are interested.

If you find this sort of thing as intriguing as I do, you can find a few more lurking on one of our Pinterest boards. But on with the show! I thought a whole book of infographics sounded great, and this one did not disappoint. It covers all sorts of outer space-y topics, from the big bang theory (the actual theory, not the show), to black holes, to the different kinds of stars, and on and on. It’s meant for kids, but I think the format, humorous tone, and interesting info make it a book that’s fun for all ages. The straightforward, easy-to-comprehend explanations of some admittedly esoteric topics helped me learn all kinds of things I never knew before, and the engaging graphics and fun, informal voice kept me turning pages and thinking, “Oh, just one more infographic…” until the book was done.

Atoms take up only 3% of the universe, and the rest is all dark matter and dark energy?! Who knew! A chart with how much a dog would weigh on each of the planets, taking into account the different gravities? Awesome! An equation for measuring the possibility of intelligent life in our galaxy? Why didn’t I know about this before?! My absolute favorite, though, was the infographic explaining what would happen if one were to fall in a black hole. Remind me never to do that.

The info doesn’t go too deep, but I wouldn’t expect it to—this is an introduce-and-intrigue-type book, not a textbook. Rather, when a reader’s interest in a certain topic is piqued, it serves as a springboard for going off to the interwebs or the library in search of more information. It inspired lots of questions and discussion between Susan and me as we perused the pages and pondered theoretical astrophysics (and we are not often astrophysically inclined!). I thought it was a great book and the perfect format for opening up readers’ eyes to the wonder of the cosmos and the amazing science of studying it.

I especially like that near the end of the book it becomes interactive, with a guide to some interesting things beyond the usual constellations that readers can find in the night sky. It also has a “Further Information” section with a listing of books and websites, each accompanied by a mini description, for further investigation of topics introduced in the book. Best treasure found therein: This website is purported to have archived episodes of “Consider the Following” with Bill Nye, the Science Guy. BILL NYE!!!

I would’ve absolutely loved this book as a kid. Who am I kidding—I pretty much love it now! This would be great for school libraries and teachers’ classroom libraries, in addition to the personal libraries of children and their families. I’m confident that anyone at all curious about the universe (and multiverse! I about died of happiness when the book mentioned the concept) could find something to enjoy here, and I’d be happy to have a physical copy of it on my own shelf.

*As ever, much as we are grateful for the copy, our review is uninfluenced by its source.


Susan said...

This makes me so happy. On Amazon I saw there's a whole series of infographic kid sci books. I WANT THEM ALL!

Cristi Pontius said...

OMG I must get this for little Taylor-Tot and Baby RAR!

Alyssa L. said...

Me too! I saw them and was like WHY AREN'T YOU ALL ON NETGALLEY. And I checked out the link to the Bill Nye stuff--turns out it's not archived episodes, but just 2 minute "Consider the Following" bits made specifically for, with some obvious Toshiba sponsorship.

Alyssa L. said...

How old is Taylor? Some of the info might be above her age level, but I think she could still have fun with it and get more out of it as she grows! Wouldn't it be cool if there was a dino one for Baby RAR?

Cristi Pontius said...

Tay is 5! And omg dinos would be great for Baby RAR! He got some pretty sweet dinosaur swagg, it was fantastic.

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