Reviews /

My First Space Atlas

Authored by Jane Wilsher
Illustrated by Paul Daviz
Published by Weldon Owen Children's Books

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My First Space Atlas: Zoom into Space to Explore the Solar System and Beyond is full of fascinating information for young space enthusiasts. It may only be 32 pages long but it is crammed full of facts that are guaranteed to excite any young person from 4 years upwards starting out on their own journey to find out about our solar system.

Each double spread is a different subject so it makes it a book to dip into as well as read from start to finish as the contents page gives us some very enticing chapter headings: Ready for a Spacewalk?; Meet the Neighbours; Space Junk and Postcards from the Planet are just some of the 14 headings in the book, covering the planets of the Solar System, the Milky Way and the galaxies of the Universe. Each one on its own is a good starting point to discuss with children what that chapter may contain. What do you think Postcards from the Planets might be about? I turned straight to this page and loved that it had a postcard from each planet with an interesting fact. Did you know Jupiter has a storm three times bigger than Earth that has been raging for hundreds of years? No, me neither. A great page to inspire children to write their own planet postcards too. The layout contains everything you would expect from a nonfiction book so a really good introduction to encourage early readers to become independent at navigating their way around a content page, glossary and index.

I love how the introduction paragraph in each double spread invites young readers to imagine themselves as the astronaut throughout, so if only this text is read from start to finish it could be a brilliant creative immersive experience for a class to enjoy together. As you would expect of a nonfiction book for young children, it is filled with eye-catching illustrations surrounded by bitesize pieces of text, just enough for the age it is aimed at. Both text and illustration work really well together as pretty much all the facts on each page have an illustration to go with it. I love the interactive ‘Spot it!’ section one each double spread and often a fact is headed with a question to encourage curiosity. So, on the page about Mars, there is a question in the opening introduction, ‘Would you like to visit Mars?’ A great discussion could follow after reading the page on the pros and cons! I think both author and illustrator have hit the mark on making sure it will be one to be revisited again and again.

My First Space Atlas is perfect for all primary classrooms and libraries but especially a classroom where you have a child or two or more who loves this subject. In fact, I know exactly which Reception classroom this book will be zooming off to now I have read it and written my review!

Shortlisted for the English 4-11 Picture Book Award 2024 Non-fiction 4-7 Category