Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
I have a couple of older boys to find Christmas presents for and in the past I have found them quite difficult to buy for, not this year though as I have found the perfect gift, The Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook. Suitable for children over nine, it’s a humorous, yet in depth, look into space travel. Full of interesting facts and figures it has a two-page foreword by British ESA astronaut Tim Peake which gets the book off to a flying start.
Split into six chapters, from preparing for take-off to landing, chapter one asks the question, are you cut out for space? Whilst each page is illustrated beautifully it doesn’t deflect from the facts, how tall you need to be, what qualifications you require and how you can’t be claustrophobic! At around 25 pages per chapter there plenty of background information for a budding astronaut from what is involved in basic training, the details of centrifugal force, to going to toilet in space. Chapter two deals with what it’s like to be a space cadet, with details such as learning first aid and how to eat whilst floating. Chapter three is about lift off, getting into your space suit, dealing with the media and the launch itself. Chapter four tackles making the space ship your new home and Chapter five tackles the subject of what astronauts do all day. Chapter six is the final chapter and talks about what happens when you land back on earth and how to get back the muscle and bone you lost in space. The book is then nicely rounded up with a short history of space travel.
The Astronaut’s Handbook is a perfect gift for an older child either boy or girl and answers many interesting questions they might have. The majority of the facts I didn’t know, such as the need to learn Russian and the length and type of training, so it has been a really interesting book to read out to my young son whilst learning together.
A very entertaining, yet factual book packed with humorous illustrations the handbook should be on any budding space travellers Christmas list. Even the reluctant reader would find the Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook a joy to read.
RRP: £6.99 (paperback)
For more information or to buy visit usborne.com.