Once Upon a Starry Night, A Book of Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton. Illustrations by Christina Balit. Book Review.

This is a nonfiction book published by National Geographic. Inside the front cover are maps of the northern sky and the southern sky detailing the constellations. The book begins, “The last hands of pink and orange have faded in the West. Darkness creeps across the clear sky like a velvet curtain. It’s a perfect night for telling a story.”

The next page contains a short story of three paragraphs explaining the myth of Cassiopeia. The illustration is vivid. It portrays Cepheus and Cassiopeia in bright colours with sticker like gold stars on top of the pictures forming the constellations. Each double page spread is arranged in a similar format. The stories are about Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus, Lyra, Hercules, Orion, Centaurus, Ophiuchus, and Argo. The author cleverly connects the explanation of each constellation into an ongoing story, but this breaks down part way through. The reader gets just a taste of the complicated mythology, enough to wet his appetite for more.

At the end of the book there is an explanation of stars, nebula, and galaxies as well as constellations. Andromeda, Perseus, Lyra, Hercules, Orion, Centaurus, and Argo are explained scientifically.

The colorful illustrations, enticing mythological snippets, and astronomical information are presented well. Children who are interested in the stars, and even a few adults, will find this book interesting.

BUY Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations


Note: if this is the kind of book that appeals to you, you might want to check out Sing the Planets, An I’ll Remember That Book by Bonnie Ferrante.

BUY Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That (Volume 1)


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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