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The Stars: A New Way to See Them Hardcover – Oct 27 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 2 edition (Oct. 27 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547132794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547132792
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 22.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #264,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Angel E. Pacheco on May 19 2009
Format: Hardcover
Rey's view to teaching astronomy is original, refreshing, and easy to follow. I would recommend his books to anyone, of any age, wanting to learn about the skies.
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By CR on June 19 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best guide to stars ever! It is both understandable and memorable. Go figure it's by the author of curious George!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 141 reviews
137 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful childhood memories April 13 2005
By Ben - Published on
Format: Paperback
One winter night during junior high, I glanced up at the night sky and out of the corner of my eye I saw a small silverly cloud. A closer look revealed a small cluster of six tiny stars. "Hmmm," I said to myself,"I wonder what that is?" I remembered an old book I had on my shelf called "The Stars." So went and after a quick search, realized that the cluster was called the Pleiades and they are part of Taurus. "Cool," I thought, and I sat down to read the whole book through.

This is my all-time favorite book from my youth. I have many, many memeories of me and my dad spending hours up on the roof at night, looking at this book through our red-painted flashlight, naming the stars and tracing the constellations. We did this at least once a week for several years, during all seasons. Even to this day, almost 40 years later, I look up in the sky and immediately see old and comforting friends that haven't changed since then. And I feel like I know where I am.

Then during college, I took a photocopy of the book to Kenya, where I lived for a semester in the bush. This time, Kenya being on the equator, I had the pleasure of meeting new friends; the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Way cool.

I have given this book as a gift to friends, children of friends, just about anyone who I have seen glancing into the nightime sky.

So now I just bought myself a brand new copy; I'm going to Sri Lanka to help with disaster relief and, alas, my original cloth-bound hardcover 1962 edition is just to old to make the journey with me. However, I am very eager to re-aquaint myself with those friends I first made back in the African sky.

I have to say that Rey's method for showing the constellations outdoes everyone elses: Gemeni looks like two stick figures (note the cover illustration), Orion a hunter, Scorpio a scorpion, etc. Every other illustration I have ever seen has shown the constellations as apparently random lines between random points. This makes it nearly impossible to see the constellations for what they are. And I don't understand why other publication such as magazines and newspapers don't use Rey's system. Copyright issues, perhaps?

This book is an amazing gift that will inspire you and/or your kids, and it's a great way to spend time and bond with him/her/them. I take it whenever I travel, and I always find it is a great way to get people, young and old, curious, excited, and interacting. I can't speak highly enough.
100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Not just a kid's book...great for all beginning stargazers! April 7 2000
By Shawn Moses - Published on
Format: Paperback
H. A. Rey is best known for his "Curious George" stories, but he was a scientist by profession and he also wrote two books on stargazing for children. If you have a child who is interested in the stars, this book is delightful and highly readable. And if YOU are interested in the stars, dont hesitate to get it for yourself! Rey has a unique way of showing the constellations: he actually went through the trouble of drawing lines between the stars of a constellation to form a meaningful picture - so Gemini (the twins) actually looks like a pair of twins, Cetus (the whale) looks like a whale, and so forth. A word of warning: to form these pictures, Rey often had to rely on dim stars. Don't expect to see them from the city! Access to a dark country sky is essential to get the most out of this book. That said, "The Stars" makes the mastery of stargazing accessible and fun for children and adults alike.
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A really good book! Jan. 21 2003
By William Oterson - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great, allow me to say again it is great. I noticed it used as a reference book at M.I.T. and I was intrigued. I had thought it was a book for children, and it is. But, it is also a book for anyone with a desire to learn to identify heavenly objects. If you've a beginning interest in astronomy buy this book, it's reader friendly.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The finest introductory work on Astronomy in print May 3 2002
By M. Demattei - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this book in a library as a young child in 1978. After renewing it as many times as I could, my mother bought me a copy. This book started a lifetime love of observational Astronomy that continues to this day. I still have that very book now--it is worn, marked, ripped, and the cover has fallen off--but it is still a book that I pull out from time to time.
Rey's method of teaching Astronomy is to keep things as simple and basic as possible. If all you want to do is recognize the constellations in the sky and know when to see them, then you read the first three chapters. If you want to learn a bit more about celestial mechanics, then you read further. You learn as much as you want to. Rey's outlines of the constellations are innovative in that that really LOOK like what the constellations are supposed to represent. The first time I used this book to find constellations (at age eight) I was able to pick out a few even in the light polluted skies of the SF Bay Area.
The only criticism that I have for this book (which only popped up when I reached adulthood) is that in order to draw some of his realistic outlines of the constellations, Rey needed to incorporate a number of faint stars that can only be seen in areas that have very dark skies at night. Under such conditions there are so many stars peppering the heavens (that are not on Rey's charts) that an amateur could be overwhelmed and get lost. Despite this quibbling, I still consider this book to be the best introductory work on Astronomy around, no matter what age the reader. I've seen lots of other "Astronomy 101" books--some are good, some are great, but after 50 years of being in print, "The Stars" has yet to be beat.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
"What those guys said" June 10 2006
By Dave Holland - Published on
Format: Paperback
The reviews on this book are remarkably accurate. This is not a childrens' book. Even though decades have passed since it was first published, no other text has been able to bump it off a 'best in class' position. If you want to look to the sky for familiar shapes, this is the book for you.

There are a couple of fundamental ways to study the heavens. A 'modern' approach might be to put your head down, click in a few celestial coordiantes, and wait for the telescope to find a target for you. However a more interesing approach would be to find shape in the sky and locate targets manually. To do that you need to recognize those old landmarks in the sky, the constellations.

The big problem in identifying constellations is to find shape from seemingly random dots. Ray creatively used the same stars, but made 'new' stick diagrams that actually look like what they are supposed to represent. This makes a constellation much easier to visualize, remember, and recognize later. Other texts that attempt this effort fall short because they don't emphasize visual recognition clues.

A major fault of modern texts is the inclusion of unnecessary detail. Ray puts in a few choice details that help the memory and add interesting character to the figures in the sky. But by excluding minutia he draws the reader back to the goal at hand. Ultimately you need to memorize a blueprint of the sky, and this workbook will be your best friend to help reach that goal. Bravo.

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