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Reference

Young Readers

These books are appropriate for younger discoverers.

First Facts About the Solar System
by Michael Teitelbaum, illustrated by Jon Friedman with photographs by NASA, published by Kidsbooks, Inc., Chicago, 1991, 24 pages. This book, also hard-bound, provides a good overview of our Solar System. Where possible, each object is accompanied by at least one NASA spacecraft photograph. The objects are explained in simple terms. Here is a portion of the section on the planet Mercury: "Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun. It revolves faster than the other planets, taking only 88 days to complete its journey around the Sun. However, Mercury rotates so slowly that it takes 59 Earth days for Mercury to spin around completely one time!" Facts are presented in an interesting manner so as to capture the readers imagination. For example, the Caloris Basin, largest crater on Mercury, is reported to be 800 miles wide and, to better illustrate the point, is noted to be larger than the state of Texas. This book is an informative reference for both young and old.

Space Words: A Dictionary
by Seymour Simon, illustrated by Randy Chewning, published by HarperCollins, 1991, 48 pages. This hard-bound book defines words and terms commonly used in discussing outer space - from the Apollo Program to the Zodiac. Nearly eighty words, terms and persons are defined, including asteroid, comet, Nicolaus Copernicus, double star, eclipse, and those were just samplings from the beginning of the alphabet. Each subject is explained in simple but correct language. As an example, here is the definition of gravity: "The invisible force of attraction that exists between all matter. The gravitational attraction of the sun keeps the planets from whirling off into space. Gravitation holds a star together. It attracts you to the center of Earth and gives you weight. Gravitation is one of the basic forces in the universe." Many of the terms used in this definition are also explained in the book, allowing the reader to easily flow from one subject to another while gaining a better understanding of the total. Chewning's colorful drawings also help to provide clarity and a bit of humor. I would recommend this book for adults as well as children. I say this so that you interested adults do not have to get this book with the excuse that you are going to read it to a child!

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