Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Come See the Earth Turn: The Story of Leon Foucault

Come See the Earth Turn: The Story of Leon Foucault

Denise Dowling Mortensen
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Tricycle Press, 2010   ISBN: 978-1582462844

Leon was a small and weak baby, and his parents were afraid that he wouldn’t survive. Thankfully Leon did live, though he had a hard time as he grew up. He moved slower and thought slower that his contemporaries. He needed his mother’s help to pass his classes at school. Then Leon discovered that there was one thing that he was very good at, one thing that benefitted from his slow and methodical ways. Leon discovered that he was good at “building things.” He built beautiful and often complex models. He was able to think through and solve problems that other people could not even begin to understand.

This gift paid off later in life when Leon started thinking about science. After a spell helping a professor in a microscope class, Leon began to think about questions that had puzzled scientists for hundreds of years: “What is the nature of light? How fast does it travel? How can such things be proved?” Then he accidentally saw something that gave him the idea that he would finally be able to “answer a question that had baffled scientists for centuries.” Leon found a way to prove that the earth spins on its axis. Using a simple device and a “beautiful experiment,” Leon solved one of the great questions of his time.

In this fascinating book, the author tells the story of Leon Foucault with a keen appreciation for his times and for his singular ability to solve puzzling scientific problems. An engaging text and beautiful illustrations combine to give young readers a nonfiction title that is easy to understand and to enjoy.