BOOK REVIEWS - The Astronomy Book

Author - Dr. Jonathan Henry

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Having laughed my way through an astronomy course at the state university, it was exciting to read an astronomy book that actually made sense. Dr. Henry has produced a thorough, yet concise overview of the study of astronomy.

The book clearly explains what the main theories are that don’t line up with Biblical accounts, and why they don’t make sense. It gives us the history of astronomy and space exploration, without touching on the tragedies. Multiple illustrations and photographs on each page both add to the text, and make the book a pleasure to simply look at. The book itself appeals to a range of ages. My husband read it through as soon as he saw it, and I’ve had at least one child who would have been fascinated with this book by the time she was four. The endnotes are a manageable size for further exploration. The glossary simplifies complex concepts for a child’s understanding and the pull-out poster of the solar system is both aesthetically pleasing, and informative.

The accompanying Study Guide & Workbook from Master Books is also a treasure. In thirteen lessons it gives relevant scriptures to look-up, review questions, additional resources to pursue various topics, and suggested activities – some of which could evolve into extensive projects. Several times suggestions are made to help younger students participate, when how to make this a multi-level lesson isn’t quite so obvious. This small guide combined with the book can make a thorough study of astronomy for your family.

Pros: Excellent coverage of astronomy. Layout and text make it easy to either read through, or take in small bits. Illustrations and photos are excellent quality and add to the text well. Bonus pull-out poster is excellent. The study guide is an excellent source for further study and increasing comprehension and retention of the material.
Cons: These were published before Pluto was demoted from planet status. There was no mention of the work going on to get people to Mars. There are no activities in the study guide to help give a student a sense of the actual distances involved. Parents may want supplement their study in those areas.

Star Rating: 9

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Lynn Nye is the mom in a foster/adoptive family in Old Town, Maine, who homeschools the forever kids. She has a degree in elementary education, as well as a background in child development & occupational therapy, and has worked with children individually in many settings.

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The Astronomy Book is 80 pages long and I have the hardbound version. The copyrights are 1999 / September 2006. At the back of the book is a fold out poster entitled “Exploring God’s Creation” giving some facts about the planets and sun. The book itself has eleven chapters. They are: What Is Astronomy?, How Big Is the Universe?, The Origin of the Universe, Watching the Sky, Why Did God Create the Heavenly Bodies?, Space Exploration, A Tour of the Solar System, Stars and Galaxies, Cosmic Catastrophes, Catastrophes in the Solar System, and Are There Other Planets in Other Solar Systems?

This book is written from a God created viewpoint (which I agree with) and not an evolutionary one. I will say that it’s a little out of date – the pictures need to be updated – and it also reflects Pluto is still a planet. I know that is a topic that some will never agree with, but it is still one that, in my opinion, should be mentioned.

One phrase that I really liked was, in reference to those who believe in cosmic evolution, “...when has an explosion led to more order and structure than there was before?” Excellent point!

We learn about the moon’s phases and how to identify the features on the moon’s surface. Also, if you’d like to view an eclipse of the sun safely, instructions are given to make a pinhole camera with a shoe box. You can view a lunar eclipse with the naked eye.

I learned that some people use the lunar calendar while others use the solar calendar and that all clocks are set by GMT which stands for “Greenwich Mean Time.”

Of interest was the topic of constellations and how that most cultures recognize the same constellations as we do and that maybe it all started at the tower of Babel when all the people of the earth were in the same place. That makes a lot of sense, otherwise, why would so many people refer to the same stars as the same name that we do?

The creation of rockets was earlier than I thought. It seems workable rockets were created in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Dr. Werner von Braun worked for Hitler and made rockets for him. Later on in life he became a Christian and worked for NASA.

Did you know there were mirrors on the mood? I didn’t. They are used for measuring the distance from the earth to the moon by a laser beams reflection. Pretty cool concept.

If you want to more about astronomy, you will enjoy reading this book. I also recommend you get the study guide that goes with it. The chapters include the text pages you should read and applicable Scripture verses, followed by questions to answer, words/ phrases to know, and activities to do. The answers are included in the back of the booklet. There are many more topics from this book that I did not discuss in this review in order to keep the review at a minimum.

PROS: Good, detailed information. Lots of pictures. Creationist viewpoint.
CONS: Some pictures are outdated. Refers to the sun as a star. Needs updating to reflect Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Star Rating: 6.5 (if they were to update the pictures and change the layout on page 39 where it was difficult to follow the text, I would rate it an 8.)

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Tina Brown is a Christian who is married to a pastor. Together, they have 7 children and homeschool 6 of them. They reside in Richardson, TX.