One day a father announces to his son that he is old enough to see the universe. They bundle up and wind through their cozy neighborhood, stopping at the grocery for provisions as the sun sets. By the time they finally reach their destination it’s dark, and there are no street lamps to light the way. The boy recognizes the park where people walk their dogs by day, but everything looks different at night. As his dad gazes up at the stars, the boy notices the closer parts of the universe — a snail, a blade of grass, a puddle — and he is no less awed. His dad instructs him to look up. “Up there everything is clear and still,” he says. “Everything’s in its place. See how calm it makes you feel?” But when something unexpected happens that puts a damper on his dad’s enthusiasm, it’s the boy’s turn to reassure his father that he’s accomplished what he set out to do. Tender, direct language and a muted, textured palette create a sense of warmth and wonder.
Jumpstart Activity for 1st through 4th grades, by Jessica Young
I’ll Show You the Universe
After reading the book, discuss how the boy and his dad saw things differently when they observed the universe. Ask kids where they would take someone to see “the universe.” They can write a paragraph describing the types of things they’d see and/or draw pictures to illustrate these universal wonders.