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Beyond the final frontier

THE KINGFISHER FACTS AND RECORDS BOOK OF SPACE. By Clive Gifford. Kingfisher pound;10.99. TES Direct pound;10.49

THE GIANT BOOK OF SPACE. By John Farndon. AladdinWatts pound;11.99. TES Direct pound;9.99

Two more publications are launched into the crowded orbit of space books for children at the upper primarylower secondary level. Both cover the solar system, deep space, skywatching and spaceflight, but while one is a star, the other is lost in space.

The Kingfisher Facts and Records Book of Space is appealing. Its lively spreads are dashed with exciting graphics and bold text, while information bytes are carried by web-style buttons and database squares. The content is equally imaginative and ambitious. Clive Gifford offers explanations as well as descriptions of astronomical events. Topics include red-shift, cosmology, dark matter and black holes, in addition to the usual fare of stars, planets and spacecraft.

The cover of The Giant Book of Space holds promise but the pages are regimented and its coverage is comparatively superficial. There are some impressive graphics but they act merely as secondary illustration rather than driving the pages.

Dennis Ashton is director of the Stardome Mobile Planetarium, Sheffield

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