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Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia

by D. Anne Love, Pamela Paparone (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the fourth century, in the sophisticated urban city of Alexandria, a young girl grows up at a time when most girls have few rights and little education. But Hypatia's professor father is determined to educate her the same as he would a son. Along with sports like fishing, horseback riding, and rowing, she learns reading, writing, and speaking. She studies the sciences and is fascinated with mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. She becomes a famous lecturer and teacher, an inspiration to women "for centuries to come." Paparone visualizes this unusual life in stylized acrylic paintings, which hit at the style of the time with emphasis on clarity and decoration. Scenes are frequently designed to suggest stage sets; sometimes vignettes are used to depict specific actions. The illustrations extend the text; "She read the works of great poets" is matched by a scene of her writing surrounded by pictures of Homer, Alcaeus, Sappho, and Virgil. There is more admiration than emotion in the simple text. There are two pages of additional notes, including one by the author, "More About Math," and a bibliography. 2006, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-In fourth-century C.E. Egypt, women had few opportunities. How Hypatia, daughter of mathematician Theon, became one of the greatest philosophers of her day makes fascinating reading. The opening text, accentuated by a map of Egypt and a painting of the Mediterranean coast, introduces cultural life. A somewhat modern pictorial interpretation of Theon, his wife, baby, and a pet dog transition to Theon's insistence that his daughter be educated like any boy just as soon as she started to walk. Hypatia mastered fishing, riding a horse, and rowing, but her father had bigger plans. His daughter studied literature, writing, and natural science before discovering her passion in the "sentences made not of words, but of numbers"-mathematics. She learned arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. Finally, she studied philosophy and oration and began using all her skills to write and teach, spreading her fame through the world. Love presents factual information about Hypatia and does not fictionalize details about her personality or thoughts, about which little is known since few primary documents survive. With just a picture walk through the book, readers will understand how many subjects her education encompassed. Attractive paintings add life to a clear and captivating text that offers a unique contribution to units about Egypt, philosophers, or women in history.-Julie R. Ranelli, Kent Island Branch Library, Stevensville, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An attractive and engaging biographical sketch of a significant woman about whom tantalizingly little can be known. Hypatia was born in Alexandria, Egypt in the late fourth century to a father who vowed to teach her everything he knew. That included not only grammar, mathematics and philosophy, but how to spear a fish, ride a horse and steer a boat, subjects women were simply not taught. She became renowned for her learning and many came to study with her. The bright, elegant acrylics take something from Egyptian and something from Greek inspiration, and have a properly hieratic effect. While the politics of Hypatia's death remain controversial, the fact that she was murdered by a mob in a.d. 415 is relegated to an author's note. Unfortunately, the author has felt it necessary to add dialogue and emotions she cannot possibly know, but the core biography is a worthy contribution to women's history. (author's note, more about math, resources) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 10.24(h) x 0.34(d)
AD1030L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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