Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin (9780823446230)
Looking at relative size, Chin begins this exploration of how small we actually are in the universe by bringing in 8-year-olds, ostriches and giraffes. Those are soon dwarfed with the tallest trees on Earth, then the tallest buildings. Soon though the mountains fill the page. Chin then takes the reader into space to first view the entire planet and then orbits. Move out to the galaxy level and look at the Milky Way. Then how far away is the Andromeda galaxy or galaxy clusters! Pull out even farther and you can see the cosmic web, chains of galaxies and millions of light-years long. Chin then takes us right back to green grass, 8-year-olds and a starry night.
Chin grips readers’ attentions right away as he quickly moves through what are tall animals and then on to other tall things on earth. Using layered narrative with additional facts along margins and embedded in the images, Chin offers plenty of information in this nonfiction picture book. One the book enters space, Chin manages to keep perspective for everyone, using measurements for comparisons and touchpoints that let us see where we small humans on Earth actually are.
Throughout the book, he makes breathtaking visual comparisons. Just seeing Mount Everest compared to the tallest buildings in the world is remarkable. The space section of the book is filled with stars, spirals of galaxies and the observable universe. These are difficult concepts, but Chin’s art allows readers to begin to think about them, stretching their minds.
A marvel of a nonfiction book, it invites us to understand our size in the universe but also how amazing the universe actually is. Appropriate for ages 5-9.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Neal Porter Books.