Acclaimed author-illustrator Bonnie Christensen adopts the voice of Galileo and lets him tell his own tale in this outstanding picture book biography. The first person narration gives this book a friendly, personal feel that makes Galileo's remarkable achievements and ideas completely accessible to young readers. And Christensen's artwork glows with the light of the stars he studied.
Galileo's contributions were so numerous—the telescope! the microscope!—and his ideas so world-changing—the sun-centric solar system!—that Albert Einstein called him "the father of modern science." But in his own time he was branded a heretic and imprisoned in his home. He was a man who insisted on his right to pursue the truth, no matter what the cost—making his life as interesting and instructive as his ideas.
Written in the first person, Christensen s (Django) vivid biography opens with the aging Galileo Galilei sitting inside his garden walls, sentenced to house arrest. Though I m ending in darkness, I clearly recall the sun-filled hours of my early years, he says as he recounts his life from childhood onward, highlighting his education and scientific discoveries. The explanatory style, accessible language, and diagrams keep science concepts understandable. Oil paint and gouache resist illustrations resemble woodcuts, with thick black outlines and borders setting off deep jewel hues. Particularly compelling is a claustrophobic scene of Galileo facing the Inquisition, the trial displayed in a small circular vignette, surrounded by a vast swirl of evening-sky royal blue a nod to Galileo s stargazing that fills the spread. Foreshadowing time and truth as his rightful judges, Galileo sounds a hopeful note on the last page: The old man is a prisoner, but the truth? The truth has a way of escaping into the light. Extensive endnotes include a chronology of Galileo s life, summaries of his experiments and inventions, a glossary, and bibliography. Ages 8 12.