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Astronomy Education for Schools, Clubs, and the Public
 

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After 33 years in the classroom, Dayle retired to pursue her love of art and to continue with her love of planetarium education. These interests developed into a desire to write and illustrate children's books.


REVIEWS



SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH: STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD...ORION

Reviewed by Georgia Neff, Peoria, Illinois, USA in the September, 2005 issue of the PLANETARIAN, Journal of the International Planetarium Society. Vol 34, No. 3, page 38.

This book charmingly illustrated by the author, retells the tale of Orion as seen by fifteen different cultures. For every planetarian who has shared the story of Orion and Diana more times than can be counted, here are possibly unfamiliar legends from around the world.

Every inhabited continent is represented, plus Polynesia. The stars of Orion variously represent individual animals or people, or whole battle scenes. Each simply-told story includes a full-page illustration suggesting the art style of the people who told that version of the tale. The artwork incorporates the star pattern as seen from the tale's area of origin.

A parent-teacher guide with background information, a vocabulary list, activities and a very useful chart of National Education Standards correlation is available to accompany the book. The guide contains reproducible sheets for use with students or cmp groups. Skylore's extensive bibliography llists a variety of books and articles for further reading.

This book would be a great addition to your collection of storytelling tools. Teachers would enjoy it for the variety of intedisciplinary activities. Planetarians will find it a source of new stories to tell. Camp and scout leaders will find it a great resource for multi-cultural events. And any reader will enjoy the variety of tales. Order it on-line at www.authorhouse.com.

SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH: STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD...PLEIADES

Reviewed by Chuck Bueter, Granger, Indiana, USA in the September, 2006 issue of the PLANETARIAN, Journal of the International Planetarium Society, Vol. 35, No. 3, page 43.

Star stories are prioritized thoughts kept in the collective vault of our heritage. The Skylore from Planet Earth series engages readers by spotlighting a single celestial feature and viewing it through the filters of various cultures.

Among the impacts of the Pleiades star cluster are the visual spectacle, the emotional affiliation, and the storytelling that bridges the two. In the book PLEIADES, 15 interpretations from around the globe attest to the appeal of this eye-catching shimmer in the constellation of Taurus.

Veteran planetarian Dayle Brown, a gifted artist, paints a fuller understanding of this cluster's influence. Each of the 15 Pleiades stories is a concise and visually appealing morsel, tempting the reader to eagerly move on to the next flavor before finishing savoring the current one. I raced headlong from Croatia to Africa to Siberia to Guatemala and beyond, sampling each region's lore through the common denominator of a star cluster.

Each Pleiades legend is told simply on one page, with illustrations that portray key players and terms around the perimeter of the text. Brown's renderings of the characters are imbedded in a stylistic star field on the facing page. A small Earth globe in the page corner reminds readers where the people who shared this story reside. This is an excellent "interdisciplinary" book-history, geography, literature, and art blend together beautifully.

I was eager to read this short book because I wanted to know how other sky observers treated the Pleiades conundrum; that is, are there six or are there seven discernible stars in this cluster, and how do othes reconcile the discrepancy? But I had to wait for my answer.

In a true display of the book's appeal, my 10-year old daughter, a fan of the Orion book of the same series, snatched PLEIADES from me and immediately read it cover to cover. She was quite satisfied with its content. "I enjoy learning new stories from around the world," she noted, "so this book is right up my alley." Before relinquishing it to me, she assured me PLEIADES was a great book for readers of all ages.

During my turn to read it, I discovered that some storytellers account for the seventh star, while others omit it. The conundrum remains. Nonetheless, I was continually impressed by the gifted weaving of local curcumstances into the respective stories.

At the end, Brown invites readers to make up their own tales. Surely more Pleiades stories are out there somewhere, awaiting their time in history. Perhaps some day one of those stories, modern to us, might eventally take hold in the minds of a larger population.

In the meantime, while I re-read PLEIADES (savoring it this time, rather than gulping it whole), both my daughter and I eagerly await Brown's next installment of SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH.

SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH: STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD...MILKY WAY

Reviewed in September, 2008 issue of Planetarian, Journal of the International Planetarium Society by April Whitt, Astronomer, Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, GA.

This third book in Dayle Brown's beautiful series of Skylore books may well be my favorite. Fifteen stories collected from six continents show the wonderful cultural similarities and differences we humans share. I recommend it for planetarians, teachers in science, reading or social studies, and families. If we had a gift shop here at Fernbank, I'd recommend it for sale here, too.

Each story is on a single page, bordered by images from that story or culture, with a facing full-page watercolor image. Some of the stories were familiar: the Cherokee "Spirit Dog" spilling cornmeal as he escapes across the night sky, the Estonian story of Lindu's Veil that I first heard Gary Lazich tell at a long-ago conference, the story of the ashes from the San in South Africa.

But there are new ones as well. The Incan story tells of a foolish fox, leading a group of animals up an irrigation canal, imagined as the "dark constellations" along the southern Milky Way. The Silver River story from Japan is beautifully illustrated with silver fish trying to avoid the crescent moon "hook". In Polynesia, a great blue shark swims safely along his sky river.

An excellent reader's guide is available from the author as well (email her at dayledavid@comcast.net). Background information about the stories, activities and worksheets, and correlation of the stories with a variety of (U.S.) National Education Standards across disciplines enhances this collection of sky tales.

The SKYLORE series is available from the Science First catalog.

Science First

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SKYLORE FROM PLANET EARTH: STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD...VENUS 
 
Reviewed in the September, 2011 issue of Planetarian, Journal of the International Planetarium Society. Vol. 40, No. 3. p. 69, by April Whitt, Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
 
The next eagerly-awaited volume in Dayle Brown's Skylore from Planet Earth series is here.  The topic is Venus, the illustrations are lovely, and the stories are a beautiful mix from all over the world. 
Nearly every continent is represented.  Greek Aphrodite, Dawn's Heart fro the Kalahari, China's Liu Chun, Australian Barnambir, Kuamachi from Venezuela, and the Native American White Star Woman all grace these pages.  Each book in this series contains 15 stories.
The writing is simple enough for younger readers.  The intricate illustrations are full of details that children, as well as older readers, will enjoy discovering.  Each reflects its parent culture.  Rock art from the San people is adapted for Dawn's Heart.  The white bird of the aborigine ancestral being Barnambir recalls dot-design bark paintings.  Aztec glyphs mark the story of Quetzalcoatl.  Ishtar's story is decorated with Babylonian carvings.
An introduction gives the reader information about Venus the planet in its morning and evening star aspects.  An excellent glossary follows, along with credits and references for both the writing and the illustrations.  And there is a page of information about seven spacecraft that have explored Venus, from the Venera program in 1961 to Venus Express in 2005.  
I've found these books to be a real asset in the planetarium.  The variety of tales is a welcome resource for star stories, and many I had never heard before.
Previous volumes told stories of Orion, the Pleiades and the Milky Way.  The back cover of Venus indicates that two more books are coming soon: the Moon and the Sun.  I'm looking forward to them!