Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space

Millbrook. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781541577565.
Gr 1-3–This title provides a poetic trip into the universe and well beyond our solar system. The poetic language is appealing, but it’s unlikely that it would be understood by the target audience—primary grade children. Older readers would also need a great deal of background information about the universe to understand the text. Lines such as “The frigid glitter of a trillion comets/ zooms in a cosmic ring./ Dwarf planets with tiny moons and atmospheres that freeze and fall/ bring action and excitement” raise more questions than they answer. The text lacks the informational components to help readers understand what is being described and illustrated. The back matter provides clarifying information, but it is unlikely to be understood by young readers. Also, it is hard to know which informative paragraph corresponds to which page. The colorful illustrations are mysterious and luminous, but could also leave readers with questions.
VERDICT The artwork and the poetic language are intriguing, but this book requires much more background information than most, if not all, children possess.

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