An inveterate nature lover classifies plants and animals—and changes the world of science forever.
Even as a tiny child in 18th-century Sweden, Karl Linne adored spending time in his family’s garden. As he grew, he examined plants and bugs for hours while avoiding the stuffy confines of the schoolroom. As a medical student learning to use his beloved plants as remedies, he realized how chaotic “scientific” nomenclature really was at the time: no one agreed on specific names for plants and animals, nor was there even much general consensus about what type of living thing was what. Determined to bring order to the madness, Linne set out to classify the world’s known plants and animals by giving each a “clear and simple name”—hardly an easy task given the vast diversity of living things. Yet classify life forms Linne did, in his usual painstaking way. Later in life, as a revered scientist, he “classified” even himself by adopting the—what else?—Latin name “Carolus Linnaeus,” the name by which he is still known to this day. This is an interesting, clearly written, and accessible biography about a major yet lesser-known figure who revolutionized scientific thought. The charming pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are bright and cheerful and work well with the narrative.
A good introduction to a man in a class by himself. (author’s notes, timeline, source notes, resource for readers, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)