The Book

The Big Eclipse is a captivating, astronomically accurate, fun-filled adventure of what to exactly expect and how to safely see and enjoy all the phenomena that surround this upcoming total solar eclipse. It educates and engages children (and adults) flawlessly with the levity necessary to get the most out of nature’s most awesome spectacle.

– Mike Kentrianakis
Solar Eclipse Project Manager
American Astronomical Society

THE BIG ECLIPSE by acclaimed children’s illustrator and author, Nancy Coffelt, captures the sense of wonder and excitement of a total solar eclipse through its cast of animal characters as they follow the path of the 2017 eclipse across America. Readers of The Big Eclipse will learn all about eclipses – how and why they happen, strange eclipse effects, eclipse myths and even what hippos do when day turns to night!

The book tells why it’s important to protect your eyes when viewing the sun, especially during an eclipse – and how to safely watch the upcoming eclipse. Each book includes instructions on making a simple solar projector and comes with a safe solar eclipse viewer.

NANCY COFFELT began her career as a fine artist and soon branched out into illustration and writing for young people. Known for her bright oil pastel imagery and humorous picture books, Nancy’s first book, Goodnight Sigmund, was published in 1992 by Harcourt. Since then, Nancy has produced 23 picture books, including Dogs in Space and its sequel, Dogs in Space: The Great Space Doghouse, about the International Space Station.

When not at the drawing table, writing or leading art workshops for kids and adults, Nancy likes to ride her bike and explore the great outdoors with her dog, Twig. She also tends her bee garden, filled with plants that attract honeybees. Nancy lives in Baker City, a small town in Eastern Oregon that will be in the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse.

NANCY COFFELT’s unique drawing style comes from her love of coloring. Nancy has been known to say, “A day without coloring is like a day without sunshine!”

The illustrations in The Big Eclipse were done in oil pastel crayons on black paper. Nancy has a few techniques that make her art memorable. She uses black paper with “tooth”, which allows the background to show through; she layers different colors to get just the right shade; she draws her characters a bit larger than life (giant dragonfly, anyone?) and captures familiar animals doing the most unlikely things (flying poodles, cats in aprons baking cookies).

Nancy’s preferred materials are Carand’Ache Neopastels and Canson paper in Stygian black. Although, if you ask her nicely, Nancy will sketch an owl or hippo on just about anything!