Parents of young children don't tend to do a lot of stargazing, for obvious reasons. The idea of keeping your preschooler up late enough to see the night sky may seem nothing short of insane.
But the insane, in this case, is also absolutely magical. Early summer nights are the perfect time for a little star-gazing. If your five-year-old misses a few hours of sleep to look at the stars, we don't think anyone will regret it. Especially if you are taking advantage of one of your last nights in a place far away from city lights.
To prepare, you can have no better guide than H. A. Rey's The Stars: A New Way to See Them. Did you know that the author of the Curious George stories also designed a new (in 1952) way of looking at the constellations? It is by no means a book designed for small children, but it is the perfect book for their parents who need a lucid and compelling introduction to the night sky. Rey's brilliance was that of an illustrator: he drew new lines between the stars to make it possible for anyone to see a bear or a lion or a whale in the sky. And he provided a simplified version for children in Find the Constellations.
For bedtime on nights before and long after your stargazing adventure, we also adore Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations. Beautiful illustrations and simple text convey the magic of mythical animals made up of stars. A bit of elemental astrology and star maps of the Northern and Southern skies complete a lovely book for the littlest ones.
The stars are everywhere. They may shine a bit brighter if you are near the dark expanse of the ocean, but they can also be seen from suburban yards and city rooftops, as well as planetariums and observatories.
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