“A fascinating nonfiction read that puts the universe in perspective . . . literally.”
After judging the book by its cover, a few pages in readers may be surprised to discover that Your Place in the Universe is in fact a super-informative, non-fiction book—but they won’t be disappointed. Starting from four 8-year-old children, Chin skillfully scales up from giraffes to trees to buildings (which children may have some sense of) to larger and larger pieces of our world and solar system until reaching the universe. By using drawings that are done to scale (as much as possible while still making essential pieces visible) and starting with the scale of familiar things to work up to new things, readers get a glimpse of just how large the universe really is, as well as the confidence to build on their existing knowledge to learn new things. The construction of the book itself cleverly mirrors this concept, starting with short and sparse facts and working up to more in depth explanations as concepts become more unfamiliar and finally concluding with almost textbook-like backmatter for readers whose curiosity has been piqued. The illustrations are pleasantly realistic without overwhelming detail, and Chin’s illustration of the cosmic web invokes a sense of wonder that is beautifully appropriate for its grandeur and majesty.
So well done—the main narrative is informative, intriguing, inspiring, and humbling, and there are lots of additional details on each page and in the back matter to help you keep learning if you’re up for a longer read.
This is a super cool book about scale and the universe, showing the ever increasing size of things from children to giraffes to redwood trees to the world’s tallest buildings and all the way out to the universe. Fact-filled and perfect for budding scientists and children with questions about their physical world.
Jason Chin is the award-winning author of Redwoods, Coral Reefs, Gravity, and Island: A Story of the Galápagos, which was named a 2012 Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. He is also the illustrator of the acclaimed Water is Water by Miranda Paul. His most recent book Grand Canyon received five starred reviews. Jason lives with his wife, Deirdre Gill, and their two children in Burlington, Vermont. jasonchin.net
For Vanessa Ford