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Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas


The only picture book available about the father of genetics and his pea plants!

How do mothers and fathers-whether they are apple trees, sheep, or humans-pass down traits to their children? This question fascinated Gregor Mendel throughout his life. Regarded as the world's first geneticist, Mendel overcame poverty and obscurity to discover one of the fundamental aspects of ...
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The only picture book available about the father of genetics and his pea plants!

How do mothers and fathers-whether they are apple trees, sheep, or humans-pass down traits to their children? This question fascinated Gregor Mendel throughout his life. Regarded as the world's first geneticist, Mendel overcame poverty and obscurity to discover one of the fundamental aspects of genetic science: animals, plants, and people all inherit and pass down traits through the same process, following the same rules.

Living the slow-paced, contemplative life of a friar, Gregor Mendel was able to conceive and put into practice his great experiment: growing multiple generations of peas. From observing yellow peas, green peas, smooth peas, and wrinkled peas, Mendel crafted his theory of heredity-years before scientists had any notion of genes.

Children will be inspired by Gregor's neverending search for knowledge, and his famous experiments are easy to understand as an introduction to genetics.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Laura Ruttig
This unusual nonfiction picture book examines the life and experiments of Gregor Mendel, one of the world's first geneticists. The text provides a factual yet entertaining account of Mendel's education, leading up to his becoming a friar and his truly groundbreaking experiments in hereditary science. Mendel was the first scientist to employ mathematical ideas and the scientific method to the field of biology. Working around the same time as Darwin, his experiments are marked by many as the beginning of the science of heredity; as Bardoe explains, Darwin elucidated why evolution happens but not how it transpires. Mendel's work focused on how the transmission occurs from generation to generation. Smith's charming, softly colored illustrations highlight Mendel's life as a man as well as a scientist, but most remarkable are his detailed drawings explaining the scientific experiments, including an easy-to-follow chart of the pea to pea genetics. Poignantly, the author concludes the work with a brief poem written by Mendel, dreaming that his work may be remembered long after his death.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An attractive picture-book biography, this slim, oversize volume is as much a treat for the eye as it is for the curious mind. Smith's crisp, realistic paintings, often flooded with the bright green of pea plants, accompany Bardoe's readable text describing a scientist whose physical and educational needs led him to the religious life, but whose curiosity about inherited traits caused him to become the "father" of genetics. Bright diagrams clearly depict Mendel's famous plants, the internal arrangement of their seeds, and the results of carefully controlled experiments in cross-breeding with certain traits firmly in mind. An extensive author's note presents further information. This eye-catching picture-book biography falls nicely into a field that already includes the complexities of Peter S's's fascinating The Tree of Life (Farrar, 2003), Michael Dooling's handsome Young Thomas Edison (Holiday House, 2005), James Cross Giblin's eloquent Thomas Jefferson (Scholastic, l994), and Diane Stanley's attractive Leonardo da Vinci (Morrow, 1996).-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The life and work of the father of modern genetic study receive a quiet exploration in this offering, published in association with The Field Museum. Newcomer Bardoe describes Mendel's childhood in the country, his hunger for learning so great he went without food to pay for his lessons and eventually joined the Abbey of St. Thomas, a community of intellectuals, in order to make the pursuit of knowledge his life's work. His groundbreaking experiments with peas justifiably occupy the bulk of the account, the descriptions of the dogged work of preparation and control painting a portrait of patience and scientific single-mindedness. Smith's gentle illustrations fit their deliberate subject perfectly; the diagrams of the hybrid peas themselves are a marvel of clarity. The pacing of page-turns is a masterly recreation on paper of the cycle of waiting and discovery Mendel himself experienced over the years-long course of his study. The narrative moves back and forth from hard science, collegially explaining such complex concepts as genetic traits and dominant and recessive genes, to the vicissitudes of scholarship, sympathetically revealing how Mendel's genius was overlooked during his life. A lovely tribute. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810954755
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 345,575
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD1030L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.37 (w) x 10.37 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheryl Bardoe
Cheryl Bardoe

Cheryl Bardoe is a former senior project manager of exhibitions at The Field Museum, Chicago. She is the author of Abrams’ Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas and lives in Chicago.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2011

    gregor mendel and the pea pod

    When observing a first grade class, I remember the teacher read this book to her students when discussing important people in history. She used this book and a few others to show her students the small biography of Gregor Mendel and along with this book; she was able finish teaching her lesson plan. When the children saw this book, I asked a few what they thought about it and they said that it was very helpful. I agree. After she finished reading this text, I took a look at the book, it was very informational. It is written in such a language that is easily understandable for ages 5 and up.

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