16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 34


ITO TRH EDITOR OF TUN " St.itCrrATOIL"] SIR,—I have to thank you for yorr very careful and well- considered review of ." The Children's Book of Stars " in your issue of November• 2nd. There is one small point I should like to mention. In the kindliest manner you touch on the difficulties of the subject, and instance the word "ellipse" as one not easily understood. But I did make an attempt to explain it as follows : " The orbits of the planets ar•e not perfect circles—they are as a circle might look if it were pressed in from two sides, and this is called an ellipse" (p. 38). I might have enlarged on the subject certainly, but my idea was, while leaving nothing that was mentioned unexplained, not to enlarge on the more difficult and, to a child, dull bits, which it will grow to have a larger• comprehension of later. I shall be obliged if you can make room from this letter. There seem to be timid folks who are scared by the very name of astronomy, and I do want it to be understood that the book can really be enjoyed by children, even as young as nine years, without the necessity for paraphrase and explanation in addition. Of this I have had overwhelming testimony since it was published. One small boy, I am told, is heard nightly treating his bewildered nurse to a résumé of his daily chapter while she gives him his bath.—I am, Sir, &c.,