The Secret Galaxy
by Fran Hodgkins; photos by Mike Taylor
32 pages; ages 6-11
Tilbury House, 2014
"You might not know I'm here.... but if you look when the night is deep you'll see me stretched across the sky."
Fran Hodgkins tells the story of the sky from the galaxy's point of view, starting with the Greeks. To them, the night sky looked as though someone had spilled milk.
What they didn't see is how our galaxy whirls in a spiral. We are on one arm. "But don't worry," says the galaxy in a soothing voice. "Gravity holds everything together." So we won't go spinning off into the void.
Hodgkins combines lyrical prose with fact-filled sidebars that, combined with Mike Taylor's gorgeous photos, take us out of this world. We learn how stars are born and how they die. We meet a black hole and contemplate dark matter. There are a few answers and a lot of questions and in the end you'll want to head outside and look at the sky.
Fortunately, winter is a good time for galaxy-viewing - at least here in the northeast. The crisp night air makes the stars stand out brighter, especially on moonless nights. Best of all, hot cocoa tastes twice as good after a short star hike.
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