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I, Galileo by B. Christensen

Christensen, Bonnie. I, Galileo. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.

I, Galileo is a factual biography presented in narrative style. Told from the first person perspective of Galileo Galilei as an old man, the story briefly recounts the significant moments in his life from education, to scientific discoveries and inventions, and to his accusation of heresy by the Catholic Church in Rome for being a proponent of the heliocentric model of the solar system. Told in a simple straightforward style, it is remarkable how much information about Galileo’s life is so eloquently packed into such a short work without seeming merely like an account of facts. This makes the content accessible to children without making it seem too much like a history lesson. At the end, the text is accompanied by a chronology of historical moments, listings of Galileo’s most famous experiments, inventions, and discoveries, as well as a short glossary. For those interested in learning more about Galileo there is a brief bibliography and a list of recommended websites, though the documentary and sites for which links are provided are not aimed at the same age level as the book.

Author Bonnie Christensen is also the illustrator. The artistic oil paintings have an historic feel that complement the text nicely and aid in its comprehension. For instance, reference to Galileo’s compass could have been misinterpreted as a different type of tool were it not for its depiction on the opposing page. Colour was used very effectively, particularly with the symbolic darkening of the background on the page where Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment. Young readers will learn a lot from this book, and hopefully will be as inspired Galileo was to explore, discover, and challenge existing ideas along the way.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Trish Chatterley

Trish is a Public Services Librarian for the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta. In her free time she enjoys dancing, gardening, and reading books of all types.