I, Galileo

Bonnie Christensen

Book - 2012

Examines the life of the Italian scientist from a first-person perspective that surveys his achievements while covering his world-changing ideas about a heliocentric solar system and his imprisonment for heresy.

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Children's Room jBIOGRAPHY/Galilei, Galileo Checked In
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2012.
Main Author
Bonnie Christensen (-)
Physical Description
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill., col. map ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In this handsome picture book, blind, elderly Galileo sits in his walled garden, plays his lute, and tells the story of his life. After speaking of his childhood and education, he recalls his scientific work, including developing an improved telescope that enabled him to study objects in the sky and to conclude that Copernicus' sun-centered theory was correct. The church reacted to his writings on that theory by placing him under house arrest and banning his books. The narrative text flows beautifully, and it touches on many of Galileo's accomplishments, but sometimes more explanation is needed to make them clear and meaningful to children. An example is the mention of an ingenious compass, a device capable of complex mathematical calculations, immensely useful to the military. Created using gouache and oil paints, the illustrations are well composed, dynamic, and sometimes dramatic. The book is a broad view of Galileo's life and significance and will serve quite well as a traditional alternative to Sis' Starry Messenger (1996).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-8-Narrated by "the father of modern science"' himself, this exquisite picture-book biography conveys both the tragedy and triumph of Galileo's life's work. A preface describes what the world was like in 1564, opposite an illustration of the universe as Aristotle and Ptolemy believed it to be, with Earth at its center. The child of a musical theorist whose "revolutionary views challenged musical tradition and angered authorities," young Galileo learned to question accepted theories and think for himself. Christensen allows her subject to relate his story sequentially, also expounding on popular thought and detailing his experiments and discoveries. While Copernicus is credited for promoting the theory that the sun was the center of the universe 50 years earlier, it was Galileo who proved it. The inventor of the geometric and military compass, a telescope that revealed the heavens, a microscope, and a pendulum clock kept quiet for seven years, but when he dared to publish his findings, he was condemned for heresy and sentenced to imprisonment in his own home for the rest of his life. A chronology of Galileo's life as well as of important events in his world, a description of his experiments, and lists of his inventions and discoveries are appended. The vibrant illustrations were created with a gouache resist and oil paints, outlined in black and resemble stained glass. The first-person narration renders the text both engaging and accessible; charts, diagrams, and thumbnails explicate the science. Libraries that already own Leonard Everett Fisher's Galileo (Atheneum, 1992) or Peter Sis's Starry Messenger (Farrar, 1996) will still want this accomplished volume.-Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Narrating from his house arrest in Arcetri, the elderly Galileo Galilei looks back at his life, from being the "center of my parents universe" to the trial before the Inquisition for his heresy in proposing that the Earth revolved around the sun. True to the spirit of the books title, Galileo is not at all bashful about his accomplishments: "Yes, my compass was an extraordinary success, but nothing compared to what was to come." The illustrations, confidently bordered in textured black lines, not only give geographical and historical context for Galileos ideas and experiments (the two unequal balls dropping at the same rate from the tower of Pisa, for example) but also convey the arc of the narrative, with Galileos trial portrayed in a perfect circle surrounded on all sides by storm-cloud-blue paint, and the subsequent picture of his imprisonment showing him in resigned contentment in his garden under a twilight sky. Diagrams illustrating some of Galileos key concepts are clear and executed in a harmonious style. More straightforward if less individual than Peter Sss Starry Messenger (rev. 1/97), this is an excellent introduction to the scientist, and appends helpful information (chronology, lists of Galileos experiments and discoveries, a glossary, bibliography, and website directory) for readers inspired to further research. roger sutton (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

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)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.