Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn what is hardly among his most scintillating books, Fisher (Gutenberg; Kinderdike) offers a rather dry chronicle of the life of Marie Curie, who was born Manya Sklodowska in Warsaw in 1867. After working as a governess, Marie fulfilled a youthful dream in 1891, when she enrolled as a physics student at the Sorbonne-the first and only woman student. Living in poverty, she conducted much of her research in a laboratory she shared with the noted scientist Pierre Curie. The two continued to work together after their marriage in 1895, and in 1898 announced their discovery of radium. Marie was awarded a doctor of physical science degree and eventually, with her husband, received the Nobel Prize in physics. After Pierre's death in 1906, Marie took over his duties at the Sorbonne but, because she was a woman, was not allowed to become a member of the French Academy of Science. During WWI, Marie and her daughter drove a truck loaded with X-ray and radium therapy equipment onto the battlefields of France, where they treated wounded soldiers. Ironically, the scientist's chronic ailments-and her death in 1934-were caused by her extensive exposure to radiation. Fisher's expert but somber black-and-white acrylic paintings do little to relieve the generally melancholy tenor of the text. Ages 7-11. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Susie WildeThe famous discoverer of radium is revealed in this biography to be a brilliant woman who fought against oppression by the Russians in Poland and against sexism wherever she lived. Despite poverty, rumors, and ill-health due to her experimentation, Curie won the Nobel Prize twice. She also was the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne and she won respect and acknowledgment for her gifts throughout the world.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-5-Handsomely designed and illustrated in tones of black and white, this is nevertheless a disappointing biography. While impressive, the paintings create a somber and forbidding mood that the occasionally dry text does not dispel. More importantly, the scientific information is not explained clearly enough for readers who would be most likely to choose a biography in a picture-book format. For instance, Fisher notes, ``If radium did exist, then long-held ideas about the nature of matter would no longer be acceptable.'' Yet he doesn't mention what those ideas were, nor how the existence of radium would refute them. Later, he writes that the French government did not honor Curie's World War I contributions because of rumors of an ``unproved love affair that offended powerful people,'' without explaining how or why it was unproven or considered offensive. Although the book clearly documents the discrimination Curie suffered as a pioneering woman in science, readers will find a more inviting approach in Steve Parker's Marie Curie and Radium (HarperCollins, 1992).-Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA
Carolyn PhelanFisher, who is known for his large-format information books, describes Curie' childhood, education, work, illness, and honors through acrylic paintings and a clearly written text. In the opening pages, a chronology gives the dates of significant events in the scientist's life, while a full-page map of Europe sets the stage for her story. Fisher ably brings Curie to life, while highlighting the position of women in science and in society at the turn of the century. Fisher's use of black and white paints and his creation of strong sculptural and dramatic effects in shades of gray give the artwork an aura of power that works best in scenes of action, less well in portraits. An appealing alternative to the usual middle-grade biography.
- Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 8.90(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.48(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
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