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ALFRED NOBEL by Kathy-jo Wargin


The Man Behind the Peace Prize

by Kathy-jo Wargin & illustrated by Zachary Pullen

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58536-281-3
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

A picture-book biography of the inventor of dynamite and creator of the Nobel Prizes fills a niche but oversimplifies somewhat in so doing. From his discovery that the volatility of nitroglycerin might be harnessed for use to the reading of the will in which he established the famous prizes, the brief account sketches in the basic details of Nobel’s adult life: his fondness for reading and writing, his tinkering with explosives, the factory blast that killed his brother Emil and four others and the premature obituary he read when his brother Ludvig’s death was misreported as his own. Throughout, Wargin depicts a melancholy but committed pacifist who hoped “his inventions would prevent war.” Pullen’s full-bleed paintings are at their best in Nobel’s workshop, their subject intent on the chemical task at hand. While the brevity of the narrative is appropriate for the audience, for whom little else on the subject is available, it glosses over the fact that he manufactured armaments as well as tools for mining and manufacturing—an unfortunate elision. (list of Nobel Peace Prize winners) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)