Actual size of book: over 9" x 12"; all photographs in full color.

A Society of School Librarians International Honor Book

A Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee

Now in its Eighth Printing


Good Reviews: 27

Bad Reviews: 1

Read an Excerpt from SEE THE STARS!

Description--SEE THE STARS

What's the best way to find the stars and constellations? Astronomers tell us to go out on a clear night with two things: a pair of binoculars and an expert as your guide. With Ken Croswell's See the Stars, all you need are the binoculars.

Save the complicated star charts for later. With See the Stars, it's easy for you to experience the twelve best and brightest star patterns in the sky. On a clear night, just open to the page for the month you're in, look at an actual color photograph of the constellation, and face the direction given. You'll enjoy one of the sky's most amazing star patterns, including:

Orion (January). Learn why stars are different colors, and see a cloud of gas and dust where new stars are being born.

The Big Dipper (February). This easy-to-find star pattern points the way to many other sights, including the North Star, and it has an amazing double star of its own.

Leo (March). Find the mighty lion, whose heart is marked by a bright, blue star, Regulus.

Bootes (April). A bright, orange star named Arcturus shows what our Sun will look like billions of years from now.

Lyra (May). This small constellation has one of the brightest stars of all, beautiful Vega.

Cygnus (June). Watch out for two black holes--mysterious dead stars from which nothing can escape.

Scorpius (July). Find bright, red Antares, a star that rivals the beauty of the planet Mars.

Sagittarius (August). Use this teapot pattern to find the center of our Galaxy.

Cassiopeia (September). Here shines a yellow star like our Sun. Does it support alien life?

Perseus (October). Find Algol, a star that fades and brightens every 2 days and 21 hours.

Auriga (November). Can you see Epsilon Aurigae? Once every 27 years, something huge passes in front of it, dimming it for two years at a time.

Taurus (December). Here are the two best star clusters in the sky--plus a star that points the way to the edge of our Galaxy's disk of stars.

"This is a book I wish I had at age 11 when I was a novice stargazer. Croswell provides the perfect balance of essential details to set the beginning stargazer on the right track."
--Terence Dickinson, author of NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing to Viewing the Universe

"This book is one of the very best and most original ever written on constellation identification for kids or for anyone who is a complete beginner. Books like this come along maybe only once every decade or two. Highly recommended."
--Fred Schaaf, Sky and Telescope columnist and author of 40 Nights to Knowing the Sky

Good Reviews--SEE THE STARS

Kirkus Reviews:

For readers who live where stars are visible in the night sky, this will inspire a trip outside in every season; for those who live where pollution and ambient light make star-viewing difficult, the color photographs will provide a nearly satisfying substitute. While many sky guides show a hemisphere of sky with dozens of labeled constellations, much to the confusion of novice stargazers, this selects one prominent constellation for each month of the year. Clear directions are given for where and when to find the constellation in most latitudes. A full-color photograph of the night sky shows the constellation with each star carefully labeled. More experienced gazers will relish the informative text by Croswell, a Harvard-trained astronomer. Croswell conveys his love of astronomy, and a profound sense of wonder, as he describes each star in the group and introduces many broader issues and concepts of astronomy. For example, looking at Taurus (the Bull) in the December sky, the viewer will notice the brighter of two stars in the bull's right horn tip. That is El Nath, a blue star 130 light-years away. "It doesn't look special, but it marks a special direction: the Galactic anti-center, the point exactly opposite the center of our Galaxy, where we look out to the edge of the Milky Way's disk of stars, some 30,000 light-years beyond El Nath." The author concludes with a flow chart of how to find the planets in the night sky, a list of the brightest stars and where they appear, and an index. An inspiring and useful title.

The Observatory:

Anyone who regularly buys books will know that the blurb on a book's cover isn't always an accurate guide to what lies within. The information on the inside flaps, for example, is usually written by some PR whizz completely unknown to the author. Publishing houses employ staff to work solely on book covers and some even discourage staff from actually contacting authors. They are experts in packaging a book for sale but oblivious to the wildness of their claims and the factual clangers they drop in their efforts.

See the Stars by Ken Croswell, however, is exactly what its cover, flaps, and publicity material claim it to be, and then some more. It is a "how-to" book aimed at readers over eight which really does get them outside, looking up, and finding the constellations described.

Twelve double-page spreads feature a constellation for each month of the year. On the right page is a "where and when to look" box, a line drawing, and a description of the star pattern; opposite is a large and stunning celestial photo of the constellation in question. Extra information worked into the text means that by the end of the book you've not only learnt twelve constellations in detail but also about stellar temperatures and colours, double stars, the zodiac, the Milky Way, and the planets.

The choice of constellations is no surprise: Croswell has picked the best and brightest star patterns in the sky. All twelve are ideal for readers between latitudes 30 and 50 degrees north. UK readers will miss out during the months of July and August when Scorpius and Sagittarius are featured. The beauty of the book is that Croswell has restricted himself to just the twelve, giving the reader a feeling of real achievement on seeing these constellations.

A whole year would have been needed to test and review this book thoroughly but two months was the maximum allowed by the Editors. So, with only a Cub Scout Astronomy Badge between them, my 10 and 12 year olds tested it out. They found their way around the book and then the sky with ease. Yet they weren't the first to do this. As Croswell wrote the book, his instructions were field-tested by his non-astronomical editor, then the editor's colleagues, friends, and various offspring. This thorough and rare testing of the text and its subsequent tweaking before publication has really paid off.

Croswell has a friendly, easy style which is already familiar to American readerships. He has introduced children to astronomy through articles and radio scripts written just for them, has authored three books for adults, and is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers. See the Stars has a "no frills" approach to its subject and provides simple, straightforward help. The book looks a touch old-fashioned next to the UK design-led factual books produced for children in the past ten years. But for a book that really works, choose this one.
--Carole Stott

Montgomery County (PA) District Center Children's Book Review Committee:

Finally! An astronomy guide that the reader can actually follow without being a rocket scientist! This is a fabulous book about how to view constellations throughout the year. Croswell includes one constellation per month with an easy-to-follow guide of step-by-step instructions on how to find each one. The photographs of each constellation are not only of exceptional quality, they are also a great help for the novice star gazer. A must have for every collection!
--Kristin Pedemonti


Astronomy enthusiasts will appreciate this well-designed guide to viewing star patterns. Croswell devotes a double-page spread to each of twelve constellations, one for each month. The right-hand page is divided lengthwise into two columns. The first column contains text describing the constellation and providing other related information. The second column has a black-and-white diagram of the constellation, and a "Where and When to Look" box that suggests the best month (and sometimes dates of that month), direction (overhead, northeast, etc.), and approximate time for viewing. The left-hand side of the spread is an actual photograph of the night sky, with each star in the featured constellation labeled. Croswell notes that a telescope isn't necessary, but recommends viewers use binoculars and a red flashlight. Younger students may need the help of an adult or older sibling.
--Lauren Peterson

The Los Angeles Daily News:

Though hard to see through the smog, L.A.'s sky is full of stars, moons, and planets. With See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky, you now have hope of finding them.

Because the author, Ken Croswell, knows that it's sometimes hard to find a place without light pollution, every constellation in this book can be seen with the naked eye (though admittedly, some might be easier to spot than others). Croswell gives detailed--and easy-to-read--accounts of the origins of constellations, nebulae, black holes, and other forms of stars, separated into sections by the month they'll appear. Photographs of the night sky help kids see for themselves what they're looking for, without the confusion of star charts and intensive scientific language.

Besides, you can finally prove to your kids that there are stars other than those in Hollywood.
--Mike Chmielecki

Kansas City Star:

Looking for a good book for a budding astronomer? Filled with great photos, this gentle introduction to the night sky profiles one prominent constellation for each month of the year. Suitable for older children and adult beginners.

Astronomy and Geophysics:

This is a practical introduction to observing the stars by an experienced science writer. Croswell focuses on one constellation at a time, using colour photographs as simple practical sky maps for each month. The observations he describes are possible with binoculars and he moves on from description to discuss what is happening out there: different types of stars, how the Sun will evolve, dust and gas clouds, and so on. It is aimed at children from 9 to 12 years and seems to me a worthwhile introduction to the subject. I sought the opinion of someone rather closer to the target audience. Elizabeth McCaig (16) writes:

The author does a very good job of explaining the different constellations included in the guide at an appropriate level for a child. On the whole the language is not too difficult bearing in mind that the book has been written for American children who tend to have a larger vocabulary and seem to have a better grasp of more complex sentences than English children of the same age. This means that in areas, the language used is quite complicated.

Fortunately, the diagrams that support the text are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Unlike most books, the constellations in this book are shown separately from each other which makes it easier to see the pattern the stars in a constellation make. You are also told why the constellations have the names they do and the variants on these names. Practical and simple tips are given on how to go about stargazing and you are told when you can see particular constellations and at what time, although the exact positions and times will vary from the USA to the British Isles.

On the whole, this book has been well-written and presented with children in mind. It has also the added charm of being interesting for teenagers and possibly even adults who wish to learn alongside their children about the night sky, without being condescending. This book could make a very good Christmas present.
--Sue Bowler and Elizabeth McCaig

The Honolulu Advertiser:

Head outside after dark with a pair of binoculars, a flashlight, and this easily understandable guide to stars and constellations.

Clear color photographs and simple charts detail one star pattern for each month of the year, including Leo the Lion, Orion the Hunter, and Taurus the Bull. The stars in each constellation are carefully labeled to help you match them with the stars in the sky.

The author, who has a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University, incorporates broad views of astronomy with a child-like sense of wonder. For October, Croswell describes Perseus the Hero:

"Perseus possesses a star that astrologers of the Middle Ages thought was dangerous, because the brightness of its light varies. Its name, Algol, even means `the Ghoul.' Algol's light varies because it has two stars that go around each other. One is brighter than the other. Every 2 days and 21 hours, the fainter star eclipses the brighter one, so Algol fades. Then, a few hours later, the brighter star emerges from behind the fainter one, and Algol brightens."

The stimulating, useful guide is targeted toward Mainland stargazers, but it states, "If you live in Florida, Hawaii, or southern China then you can also use this book, but there will be times when you won't be able to see the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia."
--Jolie Jean Cotton

Book Page:

Ken Croswell has developed an exciting new way to help parents and children find that elusive first star of the night, as well as identify all the rest of the constellations, in his new book, See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky.

With a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University, Croswell first became interested in the subject the day his first grade teacher introduced his class to the planets of the solar system. He has retained that love of the planets and stars and now shares his knowledge of locating them in easy-to-understand language that both young and old can comprehend.

Giving detailed instructions on the best ways to find the premium place to look for specific stars, and what equipment will be needed (a simple pair of binoculars and some warm clothing is all that's necessary), Croswell shows how easy it is to observe the wondrous world of the cosmos.

The information in See the Stars is broken down into monthly segments. With the help of beautiful and clear constellation photographs, many obtained from NASA, Croswell explains when and where to look for the brightest stars of any particular month, as well as the names of the different stars and what colors they show. There's even a chart in the back that helps to identify the most prominent stars as well as planets in the sky, the constellation they belong to, and how far away they are from Earth.

See the Stars is a delightful book that would be a perfect gift for that budding astronomer, and a real help for the befuddled parent who can't quite remember where Orion's famous belt might be on any given night.
--Sharon Galligar Chance


Young sky watchers are in for a treat when they open Ken Croswell's latest book. See the Stars introduces readers to twelve of the most prominent constellations, so they look for a different one every month of the year. This inviting book features full-page illustrations that depict each of the constellations and highlights the wonderful photographs of Akira Fujii. Readers will find a "Where and When to Look" box, a directional guide to finding each star pattern, and a wealth of interesting information about the constellations.

Croswell's enthusiasm permeates the book as he describes the special features within the constellations. His memorable treatment provides a lasting impression of star patterns.

Croswell also offers an introduction to skylore and a taste of astronomical theory that is sure to spark further interest in stargazing. A flow chart at the back of See the Stars serves as an identification tool for planets and adds an informative final touch to this beginners' guide.
--Kelly Quinn

Sky and Telescope:

The author of Magnificent Universe brings the beauty and fascination of the night sky to children eight years old and up. Croswell features twelve constellations--one for each month of the year--and provides guidelines for finding them. He also discusses their folklore and significant stars, as well as star clusters and nebulae to look at using binoculars. Each page of text faces a full-page photograph of the constellation taken by Akira Fujii.

Library Talk:

This attractive, easy-to-use book is extremely helpful for students and adults who are developing an interest in the stars and astronomy. Directions are provided about how to use the book and how to look at stars. Twelve constellations are featured (one for each month), including four from the zodiac. Two pages are devoted to each constellation and include background information, directions regarding where and at what time to find it in the sky, and a black-and-white drawing of it. Also included is a beautiful color photograph of the constellations, in which the names of the major stars have been labeled for identification. The text is uncomplicated and offers comprehensible information in a form that allows younger readers to concentrate on looking at and learning about the stars. The large, high-quality color photographs complement the text. The author also provides information about black holes, star color, double stars, and star clusters, as well as a guide to identifying four planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Budding astronomers of all ages would enjoy using this beautifully photographed, well-written book.
--Laura Mench

Ciel et Terre:

Sous-titré "Your First Guide to the Night Sky" (votre premier guide du ciel nocturne), ce livre présente 12 constellations, une pour chaque mois. Chaque constellation, est illustrée non seulement d'un schéma mais surtout d'une splendide photographie de Akira Fujii sur lesquelles les principales étoiles et nébuleuses sont indiquées. Les douze constellations passées en revue sont, de janvier à décembre: Orion, la Grande Ourse, le Lion, le Bouvier, la Lyre, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, Cassiopée, Persée, le Cocher et le Taureau.

Le livre a été pensé pour des lecteurs vivant entre 30 et 50 degrés de latitude Nord. La Belgique se trouve donc juste en dehors de cette zone ce qui implique que deux constellations du sud, le Scorpion de le Sagittaire seront plus difficiles à voir.

Pour chaque constellation, l'auteur donne un texte explicatif ainsi qu'un tableau indiquant vers quelle heure on peut le mieux voir la constellation au cours du mois.

Les deux dernières pages de ce livre court sont consacrées d'une part aux planètes et d'autre part à une liste des étoiles les plus brillantes. Pour les planètes, l'auteur propose un organigramme permetant de reconnaître aisément Vénus, Mars, Jupiter, et Saturne à l'aide de jumelles. Si l'on aurait préféré un format plus réduit et plus pratique pour l'emporter avec soi, il s'agit sans aucun doute d'un bel outil pour une première exploration du ciel boréal.
--H. Boffin

Have you ever walked outside on a clear night, looked up, and wondered which constellation is which? Ever have one of those rare moments when a child points to a bright grouping of stars and asks you what its name is?

If the answer to either of these two questions is yes, then the author of See the Stars has some help for you. Author Ken Croswell wants you to grab his book and head outside to learn your first constellation.

Constellations are the mythological and historical roots of astronomy, not the scientific roots. By their very nature, they are just visual constructs of our imagination. Teaching constellations is a concrete and compelling place to start in astronomy, and this book makes this learning easy and enjoyable, with no prerequisites except a clear sky and an open mind.

The outline is extremely simple. For each month of the year, the author lays out the following information on two pages:
1. A real photograph of that month's constellation (not a drawing, but a photograph--the real deal!).
2. A diagram illustrating the constellation's outline by connecting the stars.
3. A table listing where the constellation is located in the sky, by time and date.
4. Several paragraphs explaining the constellation, its constituent stars, noteworthy deep sky objects, and occasional bits of mythology.

The beauty of this book is you don't need any extra equipment. No telescopes, binoculars, or additional star maps are needed to learn the constellations. The author instructs the reader to grab a flashlight (red light preferred), the book, and head outside. Once there, open the book to that month's constellation, orient the photograph in the direction given, and look for the constellation in the location given in the table.

Using April as an example with the date being April 20th:
1. Walk outside and orient the photograph so the "Turn photograph so that this edge faces north" actually faces north.
2. Consult the table. It says we should face east at 9:00 PM.
3. Look for the constellation Bootes' brightest star, Arcturus.

Want to look at another constellation? No problem. The author encourages the reader to flip forward and backward to the constellations immediately prior to and immediately following the current month. These constellations will be up in the sky. Simply consult that month's table and look in the direction given.

Taking our example a step further, if we are looking at Bootes on the April page, we can also look at Leo (March constellation) and Lyra (May constellation).

Ken's commentary is aimed squarely at the beginner. Ken assumes you don't have any background in astronomy. His descriptions and explanations are both enthusiastic and interesting. Here is a sample of the text:

"As stars go, Arcturus is nearby, just 37 light-years from Earth. So the light you see tonight left Arcturus 37 years ago. Arcturus is different from the Sun, for it is a giant, a star that is bigger and brighter than the Sun. It sends out more than a hundred times more light. A billion years ago, though, Arcturus was a yellow star that resembled the Sun. The Sun shines because nuclear reactions at its center turn hydrogen into helium and make energy. But Arcturus's center ran out of hydrogen, so the star began burning hydrogen outside its center. This new energy source caused the star to expand, brighten, and cool, and it turned from yellow to orange."

Overall I find this book to be an innovative introduction to learning the stars. I applaud the author's hands-on approach. By skipping lengthy introductory chapters, the author fast-tracks the reader into enjoying the night sky. Later, once the beginner has caught the astronomy bug, they can sit back and read the theoretical stuff on Cloudy Nights.

Could the author better the book? Yes, in two small ways.

First, the diagram of the constellation should show the surrounding constellations. By omitting the surrounding constellations, the reader may become lost for lack of road marks. Surrounding constellations give the reader some points of reference when looking up at that very large sky full of stars.

Second, the photographs of the constellations would be easier to understand if the stars were connected via an overlay of lines. For some beginners, the picture of the constellation may not be enough for them to determine the constellation's shape. Think of an inkblot test and you get the idea. While they can easily look at the accompanying diagram, I feel this extra step would be helpful in discerning the constellation's form.

However, don't let these two little nits deter you from getting this book. I feel this book is an invaluable resource for those wishing to get outside and learn a few constellations. This book is a great hands-on introduction to the constellations that is suitable for kids or adults. If you are looking for a tool to introduce children to the joy of astronomy, this is a great first step that doesn't involve costly equipment, travel to a planetarium, or explanations of what FOV is.

The Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer:

This nonfiction book, featuring color photographs and easily understandable text, will help budding astronomers locate stars and constellations in the sky. Month by month, it maps what a youngster with binoculars should be able to spot from her back yard at night.
--Richard Tambling

The Wilmington (DE) News Journal:

See the Stars: Your First Guide to the Night Sky is easy enough for an eight-year-old and his parents to use. Harvard-trained astronomer Ken Croswell makes constellation identification a snap. No confusing star maps. You simply walk out into the back yard on the dates listed, turn the book in the direction listed on the page, look straight up, and pick out the stars. Ages 8 to Adult.
--Kathryn Canavan

Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada:

In 1990 Harvard-trained astronomer Ken Croswell published his Ph.D. thesis on stars of the Milky Way halo and thick disk. Since then, his work has been published in New Scientist, Astronomy, and Sky and Telescope. Three previous books, The Alchemy of the Heavens, Planet Quest, and Magnificent Universe, have been well received. With his fourth monograph, See the Stars, Croswell has written the book he wishes he had as a child, and with the addition of colour photographs by Akira Fujii, it can be appreciated by adults as well.

Rated for children ages eight and up, See the Stars is an excellent first guide to observing. Organized by month, each month features a single constellation. A 9 x 12-inch labeled, colour photograph of the constellation faces a page containing a smaller line drawing, a chart listing the dates and approximate times of several viewing opportunities, and a half page of text.

Each section reveals a new concept along with reinforcement of several basics, such as star colour and its relation to temperature, the light-year, and differences in star brightness. Some point of interest for each constellation is emphasized. While variables, double stars, nebulae, and clusters are listed, the description is not limited to the specifics of the constellation, but rather explores what can be said about the constellation as a whole as well.

Orientation is covered on several scales. Sunrise and sunset are given as tools to define points on the horizon. While an important feature of the Big Dipper is its use in finding the North Star, the reader is reminded of its unique visibility year 'round here in the northern hemisphere.

For each month's observations, Ken Croswell has selected twelve of the brightest and best star patterns. For example, the teapot pattern of Sagittarius in August houses the centre of our Galaxy. In October, by turning our gaze outward to the double cluster of Perseus, we learn about the basic shape of the Milky Way's spiral arms.

Four constellations that lie on the ecliptic, each marked with "planet alert," introduce the plane of the solar system and the concept of change in the night sky. A basic algorithm given at the back of the book helps to identify planets spotted with the unaided eye. Aspects of stellar birth and evolution are described in the section on the Orion Nebula, Arcturus is identified as a more mature version of the Sun, and the unified motion across the line of sight of many of the stars within the Big Dipper is noted as suggesting their common origin.

See the Stars includes stories about how the constellations are represented in legend, as well as notes about the meanings of many star names. There are even suggestions for observing such as dressing warmly and being careful about safety factors, as well as an introduction to the star-hopping technique. The constellations are easily identified when the photograph is used in conjunction with the accompanying line drawing. The book presents astronomy as something that can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in nature. It also has great potential to get observers outside throughout the entire year. The text is straightforward and non-technical, and with its sprinkling of basic science to promote the interpretation of one's observations, See the Stars will surely pique the interest of young readers. Parents interested in introducing their child to science or encouraging a science-based hobby should consider this book a great place to start.
--Susan Gagnon

Top of Texas Reviews:

See the Stars is just the book the everyday star watcher needs. Throughout this book, a different constellation is chosen for each month of the year. Lots of details such as when to look, where to look, and what to look for are given about each of the constellations. Actual night photos supply even more detail and accuracy in locating these stars in the sky. Also included are a chart to help spot planets that are near the Earth and a list of the brightest stars, telling what constellations they are in and their color. An index is included.

See the Stars would be excellent to use as a resource for added information and to help keep students challenged. Anyone interested in the constellations and stars will want this book.
--Bettie German

Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group:

What a wonderful way to learn about the constellations. Far better than those night sky maps found in many reference books, this individualizes the constellations according to not only the what, but also the where. It is a practical ("wear warm clothes"), informative, and well-designed book.
--Barbara Hartings

Southeastern Pennsylvania School Library Book Reviewers:

Twelve major constellations are the focus of this oversized glossy book about the stars. For each month of the year one constellation is featured. One side of a two-page spread discusses the constellation, its major features, tips for spotting it, names of major stars in the grouping. A striking full-page color photograph of the night sky faces the text for each constellation. Several observatories, NASA, and some individual photographers have furnished these photos. The number of stars in each photo is truly astonishing (overwhelming even); but the important stars (the ones that comprise the constellations) are labeled clearly for the amateur observer. A lesson in light pollution would clearly be in order for the teacher and student using this book together.

A nice addition to each page is the smaller drawing of the night sky with only the constellation stars drawn to help readers visually adapt to the real thing. The "Where and When to Look" chart reveals that the constellations can all be seen somewhere in the sky each month of the year.

Croswell offers preliminary advice on how to use this book and get outside to see the stars. He is conversational and easy-to-follow in his presentation. Each constellation photo page is meant to be taken outside and used to orient the reader to the night sky; hence most photo pages have a "this edge faces north" message to help the reader to see more. Granted, one may need a small flashlight to see the book and the night sky together.

I like the planet orientation flowchart at the end of the book, the brightest stars chart, and the index to keep us on track as we stargaze. This is a helpful addition to any collection of books about stars.
--Mary Smith

Lorgnette Quarterly Review:

Written by an author with a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard, the factual content of this book is accurate and reliable. Additionally, its conversational style and clear language make it surprisingly easy to understand.

The book focuses on twelve constellations, one for each month of the year. A uniform format is followed throughout and consists of a telescopic color photograph of the constellation in the night sky with important features labeled, a black-and-white diagram of the constellation also with labels, a chart telling where and when to look, and several paragraphs of informative text.

This is a fun, simple, and inviting way to learn about the constellations, their stars, and related astronomical facts. Although this is designed as a beginners' guide for children, the average adult reader will likely learn from it as well and be encouraged to venture out on a starry night with a pair of binoculars.

Helpful aids included in the book are an introduction titled "A Galaxy of Stars," a guide on how to use the book, a chart for identifying planets, a table of the brightest stars, and an index.

This would be a great addition to a school library where the constellations are studied or where individual students have a keen interest in stargazing.
--Pat Ferguson

Carol Miller Book Reviews:

This beautifully assembled book of stars will be a hit with children already interested in space, as well as being intriguing to future astronomy students. This book is appropriate for parents and children to enjoy together and may lead to family star viewing. I suggest a companion for younger readers (5 to 7 years old).

Children's Literature:

There are so many stars, how does one get started identifying them? Mankind has seen patterns in the stars in the sky and this guide introduces a new constellation for each month of the year. January and winter nights bring Orion the Hunter. February's featured stars are the Big Dipper. Each monthly spread includes a full-page photograph with the major stars identified by name. A chart provides the dates the constellation is visible, where to look in the sky and best time of night for viewing. To facilitate finding the stars, some photographs even indicate which direction to hold the book. It seems like a more manageable task to approach the entire sky in bite-size pieces, with one new piece each month. Beautiful photographs, clear charts, and easily accessible data make this publication stand out among the stargazing guides.
--Kristin Harris

Parent Council Reviews:

This large format book combines stunning, highly detailed color photos of the night sky with a profusion of explanatory charts, drawings, tables, and photos. The focus is on the twelve star patterns (constellations) that are the brightest and easiest to experience. Loads of detail will make this a favorite of older children who will find it a useful resource at least through high school. (The colors and photos of the night sky are much superior to those that were in my introductory college astronomy text many years ago.) What a great introduction to astronomy! A great gift idea for the inquisitive older child or teenager.
--M. Henebry

Star Date:

Astronomer-author Ken Croswell takes aim at the novice stargazer with details on one constellation for each month. Each monthly spread includes a beautiful full-page photo of the constellation by Akira Fujii, with text describing the constellation's history and mythology and details on its prominent stars, star clusters, and other objects.


With a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard, this remarkable author writes as if he is standing in the backyard with you. In this oversized guidebook, the reader is given precise information on how to locate twelve of the best and brightest star patterns in the sky. By including a "How to Use this Book" preface, compelling photographs, charts, and diagrams, Dr. Croswell has made this sophisticated science book "reader-friendly." Using two pages for each month of the year, the author identifies and describes each star in the featured constellation: its physical attributes, distance from Earth, and associated legends. Within the full page of extensive text, a chart delineates the location and time to see the constellation throughout the year (e.g., Orion the Hunter: February 1-14, South, 8 p.m.). Opposite the text is an actual color photograph of the night sky! See the Stars is a significant resource for children who take stargazing seriously.

Books Children Love:

If a child you know has tried to use complicated star charts to find constellations in the night sky and become frustrated, this book will help. With a Harvard doctorate in astronomy, Ken Croswell knows thoroughly the scholarly literature of his field. But he is also interested in helping children get started in their exploration of the starry skies. This well-organized book guides the reader step by step, explaining what to do and how to do it, beginning with the section "How to Use This Book." See the Stars is an introductory book, and readers who develop a lasting interest in astronomy will later go on to the more complicated star charts. For the majority, however, who simply want to be able to identify those bright and more readily recognizable star patterns, the book provides answers in a form accessible to a beginner. The book concludes with a list of the brightest stars and a chart to help the reader locate the four planets besides our own that are easy to see.--Elizabeth Laraway Wilson

Bad Reviews

Misguided....The whole one-per-month scheme imposes a rigid superficiality on the book.
--John Peters, School Library Journal

Read an Excerpt from SEE THE STARS!