Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully

51bcqa8uu6l  Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully. Holiday House, 2017.  9780823436644

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? An engaging and relatable picture book biography of Caroline Herschel, who was born in 1750 in Germany. Using entries from Herschel’s memoirs and correspondence, McCully tells of Herschel’s life, starting from a childhood where she suffered typhus and smallpox and served as the family’s scullery maid and knitter of everyone’s socks. She eventually joined her favorite brother William in England, assisting him in his job as a professional musician and teacher. The brother and sister became fascinated by the stars and, together, built the most successful telescope ever constructed.  Caroline and William discovered thousands of nebulae, many comets and several planets. Caroline was eventually appointed by King George III as England’s first professional woman scientist. Throughout it all, she kept house and knitted socks! As in all her works, McCully’s ink and watercolor art perfectly captures the historical setting as well as imparting the happy and sad moments of Herschel’s life. I like that readers will see this interesting historical figure grow from a beleaguered child to a successful scientist, who was eventually known as the Hunter of Comets. She made the most of what was available to her as a woman in the 18th century. Includes extensive back matter, including bibliography, glossary and timeline.

To whom would you recommend this book?  There is a dearth of picture book biographies on women scientists, so this is an essential purchase.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Biography.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: March 5, 2017

This entry was posted in *Starred Review, Book Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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