WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER by Walt Whitman

WHEN I HEARD THE LEARN’D ASTRONOMER

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Einstein stated, “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” These sentiments are echoed in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (1900), illustrated here with warm, nostalgic acrylic paintings. In his sun-, moon-, and star-filled bedroom, a young, space-obsessed boy dons a tie in preparation for hearing a “learn’d astronomer” speak at a local museum. In the first of several wordless spreads, his family approaches the imposing, columned building where the scholar’s lecture will be. But once inside the stuffy auditorium, the boy feels tired and sick and wanders off into the “mystical moist night-air” where he ambles silently beneath his beloved night sky. Endearing pencil sketches of celestial bodies, doodled by the illustrator’s sons, sneak into the design and further demonstrate the charm of idle musings that trump lifeless charts and diagrams any old day. Adults may appreciate this more than children, but it’s a lovely tribute to Whitman’s poem nonetheless. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86397-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2004




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