Book review: Newton’s Rainbow: The Revolutionary Discoveries of a Young Scientist, by Kathryn Lasky, pictures by Kevin Hawkes

Lasky, Kathryn. Newton’s Rainbow: The Revolutionary Discoveries of a Young Scientist. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes. FSG, 2017. $17.99. unp. ISBN 978-0-374-35513-5. Ages 8-12. P6Q9

Born prematurely, sent to live with his grandparents when he was three, and bullied in school, Isaac Newton became one of the most famous scientists of the 17th century because of his introspection about the world around him. Lasky concentrates on his failures at farming and indifference in school because his curiosity kept him busy thinking about motion and gravity as well as light, studying prisms to discover how these changed colors. The book also covers the bubonic plague and great fire in London during the 1660s.

Verdict: The dense text makes this book suitable for young readers older than the customary picture biographies, but the colorful watercolors will move youth through the pages. It would also make an excellent readaloud, and classes might want to replicate his experiments.

May/June 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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