The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair
by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley

Price at time of review: $15.95
128 pp.
Charlesbridge Publishing
Watertown, MA
ISBN: 978-1570917141

Grade Level: 3-12

Reviewed by Suzanne Flynn
Lesley University/Cambridge College

Can you help solve the 200-year-old mystery about what caused this great musician’s poor health? After an interesting passage through history, a lock of Beethoven’s hair was analyzed with modern forensics and problem solving to reach a definitive answer.

With the appeal of CSI, the book begins with the story of Beethoven—a young man whose wild hair flew in all directions as he traveled through Vienna. Vivid descriptions and vintage photographs will lure even those without a disposition for science into the mystery, and the strange chain of evidence, as a lock cut from the composer's hair on his deathbed comes into the possession of modern Americans.

This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 is one that middle and secondary readers may find hard to put down. As they follow the investigation, they'll learn about Beethoven, forensics, and the scientific method.

Review posted on 3/2/2010

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