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Corpse Talk: Groundbreaking Scientists

DK. (Corpse Talk). Aug. 2020. 128p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780744023589; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781465499875.
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Gr 5-8–The Murphys’ new title offers readers the interview format they didn’t know they needed—resurrecting the dead to review their lives and update them on postmortem developments to their legacy. Who doesn’t want to tell a decaying Ada Lovelace about the internet or chat with a ghoulish Galileo about newly observed celestial bodies? It’s a goofy gimmick, but it doesn’t distract from the meat of this book—straightforward cartoon biographies of scientists from Aristotle to Albert Einstein, in fields from paleontology to virology to electrical energy. The interviews are organized chronologically, granting each scientist a six-page spread. The authors have highlighted a diverse group of scientists, including women and scientists of color, such as Maria Sibylla Merian, a 17th-century entomologist who traveled to Suriname to become the first person to observe and document the metamorphosis of caterpillars. At its heart, this is a compendium of big personalities and bigger discoveries, but it also delightfully (re)animates its subjects’ lives and gives great historical context for their accomplishments.
VERDICT Fun, informative, and just a smidge ghoulish, this volume is dense with facts and concepts that make it most appealing to fifth graders and up, but the content is accessible to all ages with a little support.

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