Houghton Mifflin Reading: The Nation's Choice: Theme Paperbacks, Below-Level Grade 6 Theme 4 - The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Houghton Mifflin Reading: The Nation's Choice: Theme Paperbacks, Below-Level Grade 6 Theme 4 - The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kevin Hawkes
     
 

A colorfully illustrated biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and accurately measured the globe's circumference.

Overview

A colorfully illustrated biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and accurately measured the globe's circumference.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Newbery Honor author Lasky (Sugaring Time) deserves high marks for her attempt to present formal mathematical concepts in a picture-book format. The result, however, is a somewhat uneven amalgam of fable, history and science that struggles to find an appropriate age group. She tells the story of Eratosthenes, the ancient Greek librarian who figured out how to calculate the circumference of the earth by a sophisticated process involving sun and shadows. In an author's note, Lasky explains that since there is little extant documentation pertaining to Eratosthenes himself, her job as historian became to ``responsibly imagine based on what we already know.'' Unfortunately, the simplistic language and imagery she uses to describe his life contrast awkwardly with the somewhat daunting details of his mathematical innovations. Older readers who can understand abstract calculations might well be put off by such lines as ``More than two thousand years ago a very smart baby was born.'' Hawkes (see The Nose, reviewed above) handsomely illustrates both the mathematical and historical concepts with his signature touch of whimsy. His stunning acrylics add significant interest to the volume. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This picture book covers the life of Eratosthenes of Cyrene, a geographer who estimated the circumference of the Earth in around 200 B.C.. Though he was in fact a librarian, he is famous for his scientific accomplishments. Since little is known about his personal life, Lasky describes his early years in general terms. He liked to ask questions, loved learning at the gymnasium, and sailed off to Athens to further his studies. He became tutor to the son of King Ptolemy III of Egypt, and eventually became the head of Alexandria's magnificent library. Readers don't come to know the subject intimately, but they do get to know his times very well. The narrative is filled with fascinating details about his world. Hawkes's illustrations make a large contribution, as they contain authentic examples of the art, architecture, and social structure of ancient life. His paintings are rich and warm and filled with touches of humor, making the people, as well as their environment, come alive. The pictures combine with the text to give a clear explanation of how the man came to make his key discovery about the Earth's circumference. A fine combination of history, science, and biography.-Steven Engelfried, West Lynn Library, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618062829
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/11/2000
Series:
Houghton Mifflin Reading: The Nation's Choice Series
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 0.09(h) x (d)
Age Range:
11 Years

Meet the Author

Kathryn Lasky has written a variety of books for children, including fiction, picture books, and many nonfiction books. She is the author of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series and several titles in the Dear America series, and her book Sugaring Time was awarded a Newbery Honor in 1983. In 1986 she received the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Award for the body of her nonfiction work.

Kevin Hawkes has written and illustrated many books for young readers, including Library Lion and Then the Troll Heard a Squeak. In illustrating The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, he was inspired by the Greek landscape and light, as well as the challenge of bringing a subject like ancient history to life. Kevin lives with his wife and children in Southern Maine.

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