Friday, October 1, 2021

Picture Book Review: Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, illustrated by Susanna Chapman (2021)

Quick Booktalk

When visiting Ama and Poobah in Maine, Ada falls in love with many aspects of the natural world, but most all of with the stars. 

About the Illustrations 

The most prominent feature of the pictures in this book is texture. Susanna Chapman makes it possible to imagine how various pieces of nature - from waves, to nests, to pine needles, to shells - might feel.  Photographs taken by the Hubble telescope are also used on a few pages to supplement Poobah's explanation of galaxies, and his and Ada's speculation that there might be life somewhere out in space.

Story Time Possibilities

Space is one of my favorite story time themes, and this book is a strong addition to my list of books on that topic. Despite the fact that one of the authors is a PhD in theoretical physics, everything covered in the book is simplified perfectly for the child reader. The dialogue also flows very naturally and is pleasant to read aloud. My story time audience might be a tiny bit young for this one, but if I decide to use it at some point, I'd love to pair it with How to Be on the Moon by Viviane Schwarz.  

Readers Advisory 

As a reader who prefers to learn facts through fiction, this book really appeals to me. The story of Ada's visit to her grandparents is a very comfortable vehicle for introducing the math and science associated with understanding galaxies. The straightforward two-page spread of back matter does a great job of contextualizing the story and encouraging readers to explore further. I was pleasantly surprised by how well-done this book is.


I received a finished copy of Ada and the Galaxies from MIT Kids Press in exchange for an honest review.

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