From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–This biography begins with Curie's childhood in Poland and follows her life and career through her death in 1934. Each chapter spread includes a page of text facing an arrangement of small photographs, commentary, and a cartoonlike depiction of Curie addressing readers via a dialogue balloon: "I was fascinated by radiation and couldn't wait to begin studying it." Unfortunately, the explanations of the basic science of radium and the discovery of the element are a bit unclear. Still, some of the individual pictures (Antoine-Henri Becquerel's actual photographic plate) and photos of Curie with other scientists (one with a young Albert Einstein) are interesting and enhance the text, and the book has browsing appeal. Steve Parker's Marie Curie and Radium
(Chelsea, 1995) is better for reports and makes the discovery easier to understand.–Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City
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From the Kids Can Read Alone series, this biography introduces Marie Curie’s life and work. It begins with her early years in Poland, where women could not attend university (she worked to earn enough to study science in Paris). The book also touches upon her marriage to Pierre Curie; her discovery of polonium and radium, which led to two Nobel Prizes; and ends with her fatal illness and her stature as “the most famous woman scientist.” MacLeod, who earlier wrote a biography of the scientist for middle-grade students, does a good job presenting Marie Curie to even younger readers. The book clearly communicates the importance of this scientist’s achievements as well as her willingness to sacrifice personal comfort in pursuit of her goals; for instance, she drove X-ray machines to battlefields during World War I. A full-color illustration appears on each page. Though the figure drawing is a little awkward at times, the pictures add to the book’s appeal and help to define the people, the places, and the period in Curie’s life. Grades K-3. --Carolyn Phelan
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