NONFICTION

What Miss Mitchell Saw

Beach Lane/S. & S./. Sept. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481487597.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 3–This beautiful biography of astronomer Maria Mitchell begins with her birth and childhood on the island of Nantucket, where her father taught her to use a telescope and “sweep the sky” to observe and learn about all types of celestial phenomena. Mitchell’s perseverance and fascination with the night sky led to the discovery of a comet and a gold medal from the King of Denmark commemorating her accomplishment. The ink, gouache, and watercolor illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment to the story, especially the repeated use of the night starscape, not just in the dark sky, but also in the characters’ clothes, reflected in the sea, on the school blackboard, and in the thoughts of the astronomer. The dialogue is effectively splashed across the pages rather than being inserted into the text. Both the text and illustrations introduce specialized vocabulary related to astronomy that might be used to launch further exploration. The book closes with additional information about Mitchell and her distinguished career, as well as some background information on the Quakers and how their beliefs are reflected in the book.
VERDICT An engaging, inspiring biography of an important figure in the history of science. This book could also serve to launch discussions and inspire further research about astronomy. Highly recommended.

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