Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy - Giveaway and Book Review

We went on an exploratory trip this past week -- an expedition across the galaxy! Armed with a book, The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy, we spent some time learning all about the sun, stars, moon and planets. You know the best thing about our trip? We didn't even need to leave our yard!

The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy by Pat Murphy and the Scientists of Klutz Labs. Klutz (February 2011); ISBN 9781591749202; 67 pages
Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

Before you start exploring, you need to know where you are. Next time your parental unit asks you where you've been, you can say (with all honesty):" Hanging out at the edge of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy."

The galaxy is a pretty cool place, but even though it is all around us at all times, we don't often think about it. In fact, every year we go on an amazing journey. Did you know that the Earth travels 600 million miles around the sun each year? That's just one of the many facts found in The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy.

Like many of the other Klutz products, The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy is a hands-on, how-to book that entertains and teaches at the same time. It's chock full of facts about the galaxy and even includes a few handy supplies like a red light, sundial kit, telescope kit, star maps, and a mariner's quadrant template. The spiral-bound book is divided into six tabbed sections: an introduction, main sections on the sun, moon, planets and stars, and a discovery section in the back that includes a fill-in "Galactic Passport" where kids can keep track of observations. The book doesn't delve too deeply into any of the topics but provides a nice interactive overview of the galaxy, specifically of our Solar System. The book is well-organized in magazine style snippets of information and every single page is brightly illustrated. Klutz offers corresponding online content at Even though the book is recommended for ages 8 and up, there are plenty of things in the book that younger kids will enjoy as well with the help of a parent.

Fun activities found in this book:
Determine a star's altitude
Test Your Night Vision
Shadow Game
Find the time of Solar Noon
Make a Sundial
Make a Telescope
Find Venus
Use a Star Map
Use a Mariner's Quadrant
Determine Latitude
Use a "Lunatic Wheel" to figure out where to see the Moon
Find out your age on other planets

There are so many topics covered in this book that we haven't had the time to read and do all the activities together. However, during a nice sunny day, we spent some time determining our true north, solar noon time and making the sundial. Solar noon is not necessarily the same time as the noon on your clock, but it is the time when the sun is at the highest point in the sky each day. The kids thought it was really neat we could tell time using a shadow on a dial. We also took a look at our shadows during different times of the day and observed that when the sun is high in the sky our shadows are shorter.

Other parts of the book my kids enjoyed are the age calculator (my kids thought it is hilarious that they would only be 10-1/4 weeks [daughter's adjusted age] and 5 weeks old [son's adjusted age] if they lived on Saturn). The seasonal star maps present basic information without overwhelming kids. My daughter learned about constellations at school so the star maps are interesting for her to view. I can't wait to view the night sky together on a clear evening sometime and try out that telescope.

Overall, The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy is a wonderful and informative activity book perfect for the backyard astronomer, and it would also make a great gift because it includes several bonuses like the sundial and telescope kits.

Klutz has kindly offered to giveaway a copy of The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy to two (2) Brimful Curiosities readers. 2 Winners!

Can you tell time from a shadow? To enter this contest, leave a comment with your guess as to the time of day I took the above photo of my son. (i.e. 5:25 a.m.)
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US and Canada
• Contest ends on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and sent email notifications.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Anne said...

We made a sundial using some online instructions - but this book is just the kind of activity guide I'm sure my son would love! Based on the way our sundial worked, I'm guessing it's about 2:15 pm in your photo, but not sure if that's accurate if you're at a different lattitude than us... Worth a shot!

Gina said...

I am so excited about this book! My daughter and I have been keeping a moon journal over the past year. I'm going to guess 2:00 pm in the photo.

Storied Cities said...

I'm going to guess 1:30. I can't express how much my son would LOVE this book.

Kristie said...

I haven't tried to tell time from a shadow before...but it would be neat to learn and I bet my kids would love it!

Maybe 1:45pm? :-)

khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Amy said...

great post with all the last launch happening.. Have a great night..

Liza767 said...

GFC follow back

Wehaf said...

Looks like 1:00pm to me, though it depends on your latitude and the date; the sun clock diagrams I've seen normally include corrections for the date.

urchiken at gmail dot com

phxbne said...


Roberta said...

I would say that the time is between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m., so let's just say 2:20 p.m.

What a fun post!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really fun book for kids. Lots of fun activities for families to do together. Thanks for sharing about it.

My guess on the time would be 1:00pm.

Shannon said...

11:00 am? I really have no clue! :)

Shannon said...

I follow you on twitter @shannonforpeace shannonforpeace(at)!/shannonforpeace/status/70303992693014528

Domestic Diva said...

I was going to guess 2:30pm, but since someone else did, I'll guess 2:45pm

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Domestic Diva said...

I subscribe via gfc reader.

lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Teresa Young said...

Twitter follower @tmy56 & tweeted!/tmy56/status/72487018332045312
tmyoung at rochester dot rr dot com

justicecw said...

I will guess around 2pm :) Thanks for the chance,

justicecw said...

Follow on twitter and tweeted at

mensa63 said...

Sounds like a bunch of fun.
Following you on twitter and subscribed to your newsletter and confirmed.

kakihara said...

For some reason I think I need to know where you are--but I will guess 1:10 pm said...

My guess at 12:oo the shadow would be even with your son??? so about 11:00 AM or 2;00 pm I don't have a clue
Diane Baum

mom2girls said...

I am not sure, but I think around 2? LOL what a fun question!!!

Anonymous said...

I am going to guess 1:30pm.

Debbie Kennedy said...

I would guess it is 11:23am,.........just because.
cleaningrhouse at yahoo dot com