|Universe in you : a microscopic journey|
Author: Chin, Jason
A book exploring the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic spaces just beneath our skin.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/01/22)
School Library Journal (+) (10/01/22)
Booklist (+) (09/01/22)
The Hornbook (+) (00/01/23)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2022 *Starred Review* In this complement to Your Place in the Universe (2020), Chin once again explores the concepts of size and scale. Instead of looking outward to the vastness of outer space, however, the Caldecott medalist turns inward toward the building blocks of matter and life. Returning to the Southwest, he sets the informational picture book in the Sonoran Desert, where a ranger is leading a group of elementary-school children. A girl using a wheelchair gets distracted by a calliope hummingbird, the smallest bird in the U.S., which lands on the girl’s hand. This begins a progression of incrementally smaller scales, for the bird is still not as small as the smallest butterfly, the western pygmy blue. The insects, in turn, are still not as small as the smallest hairs on our body. From here, the scale continues down inside the human body, from cells and their structure to DNA and, ultimately, atoms and their parts. Giving the biggest impact to these tiniest bits are full-page watercolor-and-gouache illustrations in fine detail, with an illustrator’s note explaining methods for depicting and coloring particles too miniscule for humans to visualize. Chin concludes by bringing the book full circle, explaining how we are made of the same stuff as the universe and returning readers, in stunning visuals, to the desert as seen through the girl’s eyes. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2022 K-Gr 4—The book opens on Calliope hummingbird, "the smallest bird in the United States. At just 8 centimeters long from beak tip to tail, these tiny birds are small enough to fit" in a child's hand, and the brown-skinned girl is using an all-terrain wheelchair while the rest of the people in the Southwestern desert setting of the United States gather around a guide near a large saguaro cactus. Smaller still, though, is a Western Pygmy Blue butterfly, smaller than a penny, but even that is not as small as the smallest bee. Step by step, centimeter by centimeter, Chin scales down the point of view until readers are staring into the human vellus hair, the bacteria beneath it, skin cells, molecules, protons, and further, to elementary particles, the smallest building blocks known to us at this time. Like a high-speed camera, the narrative then backs away, as these blocks build landscapes, the beasts of the plains, and the universe, arranged just so for every living thing and structure, including the titular "you." There is a moment in the book when it feels as if Chin has, through science alone, reverse-engineered Genesis itself. But whether in the writing or page after page of cascading spreads drawing the eye in, science and poetry create a flawless blend of information, delivered with grace and confidence. Notes on the writing and illustration help children divine fact from guidance and learning aids (such as using color on elements that are essentially colorless); back matter includes a table of elements, selected sources, and a spread called "The Building Blocks of Life." VERDICT This book is a proper revelation, putting the "you" in universe and giving children a way to grasp the infinity of the world and every particle of the planet. Exquisite.—Kimberly Olson Fakih - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.