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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 10 to 14.
This biography of the multi-talented seventeenth-century English scientist and philosopher Robert Hooke places the thinker firmly in the context of the period's scientific revolution. Following an opening chapter that outlines some of Hooke's key contributions to scientific inquiry, the text turns to Hooke's childhood on the Isle of Wight, as well as his early scientific curiosity and his education at Oxford. Later chapters further examine Hooke's scientific discoveries, as well as his works of architecture and invention. Throughout, small sidebars explain scientific and cultural issues of the day, from the Anglican Church to Newton's scientific laws. Some of the incidents described in this story seem fictionalized (e.g., accounts of specific moments in the lab), but overall the text is grounded in historical fact. Likewise, the paintings by Rita Greer of Hooke and his contemporaries are based on written descriptions rather than on extant depictions (no actual paintings of Hooke exist). Other illustrations include color photographs of important locations in Hooke's life as well as archival scientific drawings and documents. An illustrated timeline, a list of additional print and online resources, and a glossary round out the volume. An entry in the "Signature Lives" series. Reviewer: Norah Piehl