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MARIA'S COMET by Deborah Hopkinson


by Deborah Hopkinson

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-81501-8
Publisher: Atheneum

From Hopkinson (Birdie’s Lighthouse, 1997, etc.) comes another strong, simply told story, based loosely on the life of 19th- century astronomer Maria Mitchell, about a girl with a particular kind of wanderlust. Maria narrates as she helps her mother with her eight siblings, tends to the fire, mends clothing, tells stories. Her heart, however, is on the roof with Papa, as he sweeps the sky with his telescope. When brother Andrew runs away to sea, Maria asks to take his place at her father’s side. Hopkinson includes deft references to Galileo and Copernicus, and to the planets, comets, and constellations known at the time, in language that is occasionally poetic. The loose brushwork of the acrylic paintings creates a lovely contrast between the bright heavenly bodies and the deep blue sky. The stylized domestic scenes echo the flat planes of early American portraits as they play against the wide sweep of night. Pair this with Don Brown’s Rare Treasure (p. 1223), about Mary Anning and her fossils. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)