The Sky is Not the Limit – Jeremie Decalf

The Sky Is Not the Limit by Jérémie Decalf
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on March 14, 2023
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
Buy on Amazon

A poetic odyssey through space with the groundbreaking Voyager 2 probe—past Earth, into deep space and beyond.

In 1977, a space probe was built to help human beings learn a little more about outer space. Soon, along with its twin, Voyager 2 slipped through the clouds and left Earth behind. The spacecraft traveled for years through the deep, infinite night. At last Voyager 2 reached its first goal: Jupiter. Then it met the spellbinding sight of Saturn. Then, going further than any previous mission, the probe visited the blue ice giants Uranus and Neptune. Past the boundaries of our solar system, Voyager 2 sails on, carrying a Golden Record for any new friends it makes in interstellar space…

This lyrical, atmospheric book introduces young readers to a pioneering NASA spacecraft that has spent over forty-five years observing and exploring our galaxy. With stirring poetry, luminous art, and fascinating back matter, The Sky Is Not the Limit will inspire future scientific innovators and foster a sense of wonder at our universe.

The Sky is Not the Limit is visually stunning. If this book was just a series of art panels with no text, it would still be worth the cost just to appreciate Jeremie Decalf’s exploration of space. But add in the poetic personification told through the lens and in the voice of NASA’s Voyager 2, and The Sky is Not the Limit is a masterpiece of art.

The opening panel shows us a vast night sky, dotted with stars. An adult and child in silhouette stare upward as the text reads, “Since the dawn of time, we have raised our heads and wondered…” The second panel removes the silhouettes and casts brighter stars amid an inkier darkness, “What is up there?” Turn the page and you are flooded with bright white light. Human in silhouette all gather around a spacecraft being built: “I was built so that we could find out a little more.”

The Sky is Not the Limit poetically and in first-person tells the story of Voyager 2, a spacecraft launched by NASA in 1977 intended to reach far into space. Jeremie Decalf invites readers on a journey into the vast unknown, taking us on Voyager 2’s journey. The close-up of Jupiter is jaw-dropping. Decalf captures the vastness and immensity of space while yet filling the page in a way that is eye-catching. The eye of Jupiter. The rings of Saturn.

Past the solar system, Voyager 2 journeys on. The text reads, “The sun has become just another star, and my imagination wanders far” as Decalf traces constellations in the stars. Some time is spent on the Golden Record on the spacecraft’s side, a message from humanity to any sentience that might be out there about life on Earth.

In 2022, NASA started to turn off some of the Voyager probes’ systems. They expect the spacecraft’s electricity to last until 2030. Amazing how something created in the 1970s can still communicate from millions of miles away. As Voyager nears the end of its life, The Sky is Not the Limit is a fitting tribute to the piece of technology that allowed us new and striking insights into our solar system while exemplifying the best in ingenuity and creativeness that humanity has to offer.