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Summary: Every day, Massimo goes to the bridge to toss a wheel of cheese and a loaf of bread to his uncle, who is passing under the bridge in his boat. One day, Professor Galileo observes the event, and is amazed that the two items, each of different weights, land at the same time. When he learns from the professor that the items should fall at different speeds, Massimo starts doing his own experiments. He runs to the university to share his results, and ultimately, Massimo gets a chance to help Galileo climb the leaning tower of Pisa and conduct an experiment for everyone to see. This is an illustrated story about how science evolved and the scientific process
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 7 to 12
Reading Level: 3.6
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a great way to present one of the great scientific discoveries of the 16th century. The author introduces an incredible amount of information, yet it flows like a story and captivates the reader. The illustrations are incredible, and well suited to representing the style of painting one would have seen at the time of Galileo.
Pros: An engaging story describes the scientific process and Aristotle's theory of falling objects, in ways that are understandable to elementary school children. The illustrations are the icing on the cake.
Cons: None, though it would be nice to have some ideas for experiments kids could do at home.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an exceptional book for any curious child who likes to try to figure things out for themselves. This would make a great book for the classroom library.
Educational Themes: The author packs this with information that will take weeks to extract: who is Aristotle, what is his theory, the scientific process, testing hypotheses (gravity, speed), scientific beliefs of the 16th Century, the leaning Tower, university studies and culture.
Notes: Guided Reading Level N
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - math, science, biography, picture book