An accessible, inviting and attractive introduction to Galileo.


It was Galileo’s passion that got him into trouble, but his dedication to finding the truth meant that his work endures.

This distillation of the famed astronomer’s life focuses on his exceptional talent for scientific inquiry. Christensen uses a first-person narration that brings readers close to Galileo’s development as a scholar and a scientist. The narrative recounts his childhood in Pisa (“center of my parents’ universe”), surrounded by music and mathematics and encouraged to ask questions in search of the truth. He describes his rise in the academic community and his invention of a calculating compass and “the world’s first truly scientific telescope.” Finally, he details the events that led to his humiliation and imprisonment for his scholarship in support of a Copernican view of the solar system. Christensen’s bold lines and bright, warm gouache wash illustration support every part of the account. The handsome cover and title-page opening emphasize Galileo’s particular delight in observing the stars and the movements of heavenly bodies with a telescope of his own design. A small illuminated circle, the room in which Galileo met the Inquisition, is set against a somber blue-black background, a striking contrast with earlier pages showing the warm and heavenly blue of the night sky under Galileo’s observation. Maps and diagrams within the narrative help guide readers. A timeline spanning the years both before and after Galileo’s life, brief lists of his inventions, experiments and discoveries, a glossary and list of sources extend the work.

An accessible, inviting and attractive introduction to Galileo. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86753-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.


An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and...


In her debut chapter book, Platt shares the story of a young girl navigating friendships and the challenges of trying to win her school’s science triathlon.

Young Parker Bell is a curious child who loves science and aspires to match up to Mae Jemison and Jane Goodall one day. Her best friend and partner in science is coding whiz Cassie Malouf. They have been best friends since kindergarten, but Parker gets jealous when Cassie suddenly starts becoming friendly with Theo Zachary, a shy boy in their class. Parker worries that Cassie likes Theo more than her, and she fights hard to keep her friend. Matters only get worse when Cassie invites Theo to be part of their team for the science triathlon, which features a science trivia contest, an egg drop, and a presentation. In a somewhat predictable plot, Parker realizes she has a lot in common with Theo as she spends more time with him. Platt works hard to defy gender stereotypes. In addition to the girls’ STEM enthusiasm, Parker’s mom teaches phys ed, her dad owns a bakery, and Cassie’s mom teaches math. Zhai’s simple black-and-white illustrations of Parker, Cassie, and the classrooms provide a good visual aid to the story, depicting Parker and Theo as white and Cassie with dark skin and long black hair.

A lighthearted read that will offer comfort to young children that others too face challenges of friendship, teamwork and competition. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-97347-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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