Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Kathleen Krull
Illustrator:  Boris Kulikov 
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2006   ISBN: 978-0670059218

It is hard to imagine how different our lives would be today if Isaac Newton had not been interested in so many subjects and if he had not wanted to find the answers to so many questions. Isaac was the man who determined that light was made up of many colors and was not white, as was previously believed. He discovered the principal of gravity, and he was the father of calculus. Isaac is also “often credited with introducing the scientific method.” Unlike the many men who studied the world before him, Isaac believed that you had to prove the theories you came up with. How could you say that all objects, no matter how much they weighed, fell at the same rate if you never experimented? This is just what Aristotle did. He made a statement and everyone accepted it until Galileo conducted some experiments and proved that Aristotle was wrong. Isaac Newton was instrumental in changing the way early “scientists” worked. By setting his good example he encouraged others to adopt the more scientific method of proving theories through experimentation

Though there is no doubt that Isaac Newton was a very brilliant man, he was also a very difficult person to get along with. A solitary man, Isaac made few friends and all too often quarreled with the few friends that he did have. Some people think that Isaac’s difficult childhood is partly to blame for his inability to get along with others. Others have suggested that Isaac suffered from some form of depression or autism. Whatever the cause, Isaac Newton was forever bickering with friends and he made a lot of enemies. Indeed his disagreements with other men in the field became legendary.

In this fascinating and wonderfully written biography, Kathleen Krull uses her considerable writing skill to make Isaac Newton’s life and times accessible to the modern reader. She also helps the reader understand why Newton’s discoveries and methods were so revolutionary by setting them in their proper, and historical, context. An easy to follow and often entertaining writing style makes this biography a joy to read.

This is one of the titles in the “Giants of Science” series.