Newton's Rainbow: The Revolutionary Discoveries of a Young Scientist

illus. by Kevin Hawkes. 48p. Farrar. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374355135.
Gr 3–5—Lasky introduces young readers to Isaac Newton and a few of his well-known breakthroughs. The book follows Newton from childhood through his college years, including some of his most significant discoveries, such as the theory of gravity and the secret of the rainbow. There is a lot of information to be covered, and the text moves quickly. None of Newton's ideas are explored in depth, but the simplified explanations are appropriate for the audience. Lasky makes Newton accessible to contemporary readers. He was a small kid: he was often bullied and didn't do that well in school. Eventually, he stood up to his bully, proved his abilities, and went on to excel at university. The author points out that it took Newton a long time, with many mistakes made along the way, to develop his theories. A number of interesting anecdotes are peppered throughout; for instance, Newton once got off a horse to walk up a large hill but then forgot about the horse and kept walking long past the top of the hill. There is also a description of the bubonic plague and the London Fire of 1666. Both of these events had a great impact on Newton's life. These stories offer context and add tension, making the narrative more exciting. Hawkes's illustrations provide detail and help set the tone for each episode.
VERDICT Budding scientists may gain some insight into this creator's life, and those needing to do a report will find some useful material. A good choice for schools and larger collections.

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