Nonfiction Monday: Cosmic!
By Giles Sparrow
Being a school librarian, I tend to view books through a “how will it play in my elementary school” lens. This is usually a good thing that, you know, helps me do my job. ItÂ is a disadvantage, however, when I run into books that are meant to be consumed in calmer confines, away from the 50 checkouts a year school library workout. Pop-up and flap books fall into this category. I sometimes overlook them, citing low durability. “Cosmic”, a pop-up/flap/pull tab/turn wheel book about the universe,Â made me take notice. AÂ visually remarkableÂ title, bursting with facts andÂ appealingÂ to the senses.
IÂ do not remember ever being as surprised when first opening up a book asÂ I was with “Cosmic”. As I lifted the cover, a huge pop up of the Big Bang spread out before me, accompanied by an audible BOOOOOM! Yes, the first page has itsÂ own sound effect (courtesy of a speaker built inside the cover). I couldn’t help but bust out in a big grin and a “oh no they didn’t” laugh. A gimmick? Yes. An inventive, appropriate, and pleasing one? Indeed.Â Youngsters will freak out. I should also take this time to let you know that the stars and solar flare pictured on the cover light up at the push of a button. Those prone to dismiss such things as bells and whistles, be warned.
From that explosive beginning,Â “Cosmic” delves into planets, stars, space exploration, and other cosmos-related topics. High-quality photographs and diagrams are used in tandem with the facts to create an informative and visually pleasing whole.Â
Being a pop-up book, the length is brief. Readers searching for a thorough guide to everything space-related should look elsewhere. While “Cosmic!” sports only 14 official pages, abundant flaps hide even more content, making the “unofficial” page count higher. Good coverage for a pop-up – a nice overview of the subject.Â
It’s my curse to always see books in terms of how they will work at school. “Cosmic!” broke me out of my daze and was a good reminder that books made for less rigorus environments can be just as valuable.
Look inside this book at the DK website.
Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup atÂ Picture Book of the Day.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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