Reviewed by CBC Reviewer
Galileo provides a first person narrative in this NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book. Like a classic movie, he begins at the end: "...I...am old and can no longer see, but there was a time I saw all the way to the stars...Now I am a prisoner...I play the lute and listen for the nightingale's song..." A reader or listener can't help but be entranced by his story, and follow his life from childhood to understand the scientific insights of one of the greatest minds in history.
While the diagrams and flowing text would make this readable for most elementary students, the concepts are deep. A discussion of heresy, and the conflict between the traditional view of the solar system and Galileo's is bound to raise questions and prompt deep discussions. The book's "Afterword" describes how Galileo's ideas took root and could not be dismissed after his death. A chronology, a list of his experiments, inventions, and astronomical discoveries are included as well as a glossary, bibliography, and websites.
It's easy to imagine students replicating the experiments in class or virtually online. This is a good book to share with a class at the start of a unit on force and motion or prior to observing the moon or planets. The book's dual dimensions,science content and science's personal and social dimensions, make it doubly valuable at the middle level.
Review posted on 1/16/2013