Review of Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space
by Miranda Paul; illus. by Sija Hong
Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    32 pp.    g
4/21    978-1-5415-7756-5    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1898-8    $30.65

Paul’s (Nine Months, rev. 5/19) resonant verse examines phenomena in the far reaches of the universe: “Stretching the limits / of what we can detect / (but not what we can imagine).” The familiar ­planets of our solar system, presented in an extended prologue before the title page, are an appetizer for the spectacular illustrations and awe-filled verse that portray and describe distant nebulae, black holes, exoplanets, and star clusters. Readers are invited to observe the characteristics of each and wonder about its formation, such as that of the Virgo supercluster: “Thousands of swirls and spirals / have already accepted their invitation to this thirteen-billion-year-old campfire. / Dark matter lures the speckled crowd like an intergalactic host.” Scientific explanations provided in the back matter (“Beyond the Poems”) are equally awe-inspiring, tantalizing readers with concepts such as dark energy, life on other planets, and the multiverse. Hong’s creative, dynamic digital illustrations explode across the double-page spreads, using deep-space black backgrounds and contrasting bright-white space imagery but embellished with colored beams, arcs, stars, dots, and diamonds that are simultaneously mathematical and magical. Also appended are author and illustrator notes and a bibliography.

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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