Select one of the keywords
Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities    by Kerrie Logan Hollihan order for
Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids
by Kerrie Logan Hollihan
Order:  USA  Can
Chicago Review Press, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Sanitized, sculpted, and politically correct stories of human luminaries are typically fed to schoolchildren. Author Kerrie Logan Hollihan, however, offers middle-grade readers a refreshing and comprehensive look at the man touted as the greatest scientist who ever lived. In Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids, Hollihan portrays Isaac Newton as a complex and brilliant human wonder, complete with foibles and idiosyncrasies.

Children will enjoy reading about this Sir Isaac Newton. Small for his age, he stood up to a class bully, whipping him in a schoolyard confrontation. Then, deciding the best way to excel was to get the highest grades, he did just that. Intensely focused, even obsessive, the young Isaac continued to amaze his professors with the scope of his knowledge. But, that same obsessive craving to know also led him to go for days without sleep, even forgetting to eat. Kids might be surprised to know Isaac Newton had no friends. Later, when he had a friend, Newton was possessive and jealous. He was so offended when his friend got married, that he refused to speak to him again until his old age. Hollihan helps us see Newton, the flawed genius, as a real person.

Along with the historical narrative, Hollihan included 21 scientific activities based on Newton's discoveries or ones that recreate cultural aspects of the time. For instance, kids can make their own sextant, or make a plague mask like ones used by doctors in Newton's time when treating victims of the Black Plague. Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids is beneficial for teaching science, history, social norms of the mid to late 17th century, and nurturing children's natural curiosity. Some of the writing is a little advanced, and the extensive discussions on the Royal Society may not keep the attention of 9-12 year olds, but the balance of the book is so outstanding that to fault it for those reasons seems nitpicky. Great for kids, libraries, and teachers.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Kids books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews