I, Galileo

Dear Nonfiction Monday Regulars,

This weekend I have been upgrading the website that goes with this blog. Yes, there is a Wrapped in Foil website. It contains lists of children’s books set in each of the 50 United States (so far). It started as a resource for a friend who was traveling across the country with her kids, but I have been slowly expanding it.

If you take a look, I would appreciate any comments you have or suggestions that would make it more user-friendly. If you can think of books to add to any of the lists, that would be great, too.

Thanks,

Roberta

And now to our regularly scheduled review:

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The picture book biography I, Galileo by Bonnie Christensen has been getting quite a bit of buzz around children’s literature circles, including a review in The New York Times and a Cybils nomination.

This buzz is well-deserved praise. Starting with the title written in glittery stars (at least in the hardcover version),  Bonnie Christensen has nailed the details. Her illustrations create a mood of the times, which was appropriately dark like paintings that have aged. She also unexpectedly uses the first person, making the story fresh and accessible.

Some of the details are not often emphasized. I didn’t realize Galileo spent so many years using his telescope lens as a microscope instead. Ironically, he described the flea that would later be recognized as the carrier of the bubonic plague that so devastated his country. Revealing some of his earlier struggles, such as dropping out of school and losing his first job, let children know that even geniuses stumble at times.

Christensen also does a fabulous job of subtly setting Galileo’s life in time by relating it to other events. For example, the text mentions Columbus, who had already sailed to America well before Galileo was born. The “Chronology” in the back matter shows Galileo was born at the same time as Shakespeare, and lived during the time Jamestown was being founded.

I, Galileo is a carefully-crafted biography of a fascinating person, one who set the groundwork for all the scientists who followed him. It is sure to inform and excite both young scientists and budding historians, alike.

Demonstration of Galileo’s ball dropping experiment

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (June 12, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375867538
ISBN-13: 978-0375867538

 

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

The round-up today is at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Isn’t that cool, I just mentioned Miss Rumphius in my last post.

This entry was posted in Nonfiction, Nonfiction Monday Review, Picture book- nonfiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I, Galileo

  1. Tara says:

    What a lovely looking book! This would be a great addition to my biography selection.

  2. I have a special fascination with picture book biographies, and this one looks particularly lovely and inviting. I shall hunt for this in our libraries. :)

  3. Joy Corcoran says:

    I love your blog — I always have to open my library website and put the books on hold or ask the library to order them. Your website is wonderful too. I live in a community that supports families adopting foster children, Bridge Meadows (bridgemeadows.org) so the kids here will be interested in find books that have different settings. It’s a great way to organize the books. Thanks for offering this wonderful site.

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