An Alphabet in Space by R. M. Smith
An Alphabet in Space is a children’s book published in April 2023. R. M. Smith writes and illustrates this children’s book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. It took me a little more time than most to give this children’s book a rating. It is really clever and at the same time simple yet it does not make my Fussy Tongue best off. This is why.
The great: Very clever idea
The author had a great idea: to use the alphabet to introduce space to children (and to be honest, in some way, to adults). R. M. Smith finds 26 words or phrases about space representing each a letter in the alphabet. They vary from the observed natural phenomenons to the man-created tools to observe them, with other sorts in between. The result is something that works not just children, but for adults too. I learnt things that I did not know and very much enjoyed learning about them the way they were explained.
More of the great: explanations and origins
The author illustrates the work himself. It is interesting to see how constellation obtained their name. Not just that, R. M. Smith manages to present it in no more than four short sentences. He explains, he decorticates, he illustrates. It is a delight for the young and the adult mind because it is informative, it is to the point and it is fun.
Some more of the great: It’s about Space
Space is many things thanks to this little book of R. M. Smith. It is the stars, it is the planets and it is the constellations, it is the man-made space objects just as much as it is the naturally-occuring celestial bodies, the stellar and man-made satellites, what you can see and what you may not see and touching with subtle education on the least we ought to know about space.
The almost there: Almost is the unfortunate key word
What a lost opportunity. The author decided on rhymes, perfect. But then those rhymes could have been worked at to sound more naturally in rhythm and sound like a nursery rhyme. That would have made it my go-to mental place for checking space words, the lines you repeat to yourself to remember which space term corresponds to what space description. The images do that too but multiple media always increases retention and engagement.
This book flows through a very clever and informative set of ideas (teaching about space, short and fun facts, well-illustrated, some amount of rhyming) that would have benefitted to go full-on nursery rhymes to better leave a much needed print in the early-learner’s and this adult’s educations.