cover image I, Galileo

I, Galileo

Bonnie Christensen. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86753-8

Written in the first person, Christensen’s (Django) vivid biography opens with the aging Galileo Galilei sitting inside his garden walls, sentenced to house arrest. “Though I’m ending in darkness, I clearly recall the sun-filled hours of my early years,” he says as he recounts his life from childhood onward, highlighting his education and scientific discoveries. The explanatory style, accessible language, and diagrams keep science concepts understandable. Oil paint and gouache resist illustrations resemble woodcuts, with thick black outlines and borders setting off deep jewel hues. Particularly compelling is a claustrophobic scene of Galileo facing the Inquisition, the trial displayed in a small circular vignette, surrounded by a vast swirl of evening-sky royal blue—a nod to Galileo’s stargazing—that fills the spread. Foreshadowing time and truth as his rightful judges, Galileo sounds a hopeful note on the last page: “The old man is a prisoner, but the truth? The truth has a way of escaping into the light.” Extensive endnotes include a chronology of Galileo’s life, summaries of his experiments and inventions, a glossary, and bibliography. Ages 8–12. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (June)