A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky

Image of A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky (-)
Release Date: 
May 2, 2023
Laurence King Publishing
Reviewed by: 

"Budding astronomers will savor each page and read this book over and over again."

A friendly cat leads the reader on a tour of the night sky. More than a guide to constellations, there are overviews of types of stars, the planets, satellites—anything you might see if you look up into the heavens. It's a thorough introduction, yet written in a lively, accessible way. For example, the page on "Which Lights Are Planets" features a clear explanation:

"Planets are tiny discs, but stars are just points of light, and the air moving between us and them makes this light shudder (or twinkle). If you see a bright star moving like an airplane, it's a satellite or possibly an airplane really high up in the sky.

“The first time I saw a planet in the sky, I didn't know it was a planet. It was brighter than any of the other stars in the sky, but it wasn't twinkling. It was just hanging there like a lantern. This star was in fact the planet Venus."

What makes the book especially useful are the different pages on constellations throughout the seasons. The autumn sky, for example, features Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Triangulum, and Pegasus.

The art by Brendan Kearney maps out the stars and imagines the figures they suggest, making it easy for young stargazers to find these constellations the next time there's a clear night for viewing.

Along with the maps and details about each constellation, Atkinson includes "star extras" for each season. These are fascinating facts that encourage even more careful looking, such as "With the naked eye, you can see a galaxy in Andromeda more than 2 million light years away!"

Budding astronomers will savor each page and read this book over and over again. The youngest readers will love the images, the mapping of the night sky, while older readers will enjoy the science they're learning as they deepen their understanding of what astronomy shows us. This is a book that readers can grow into, getting more from it as their own understanding matures. Even parents will learn a thing or two from these pages.