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Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is a Planet Hardcover – February, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Mondo Pub (February 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593360061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593360061
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6–This attractive picture-book biography includes many interesting facts about this fascinating 16th-century scientist. The author sketches Copernicus's childhood, his education in Poland, and his work as a clergyman and physician. However, the focus of the book is on the scholar's passion for astronomy and his rediscovery–after studying the works of the ancient Greeks–of the idea that the Earth is not the center of the universe but a planet orbiting the Sun. The writing of his masterpiece, Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, is also described. (However, the author's statement that this work "was one of the most important books ever written" is perhaps a little generous.) The text is beautifully supported by dramatic oil-on-gesso artwork. Some of the paintings depict the astronomer's life, but others illustrate the scientific concepts mentioned in the narrative. Von Buhler's style suggests the muted colors and two-dimensional quality of late-medieval illustration. Fradin's depiction of his subject is idealized but he mostly resists the temptation to fictionalize. This is a useful and accessible introduction to Copernicus's life and works, but the facts and details are too scant for reports. For that purpose, Catherine M. Andronik's Copernicus: Founder of Modern Astronomy (Enslow, 2002) offers more information.–Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. This handsome, if brief, biography of Copernicus introduces the man and his work on the heliocentric theory, for which he is best remembered. Fradin does a good job of explaining how Copernicus came to accept the notion that the planets revolve around the Sun and why it was such a revolutionary and dangerous idea to hold. Though this fully illustrated book might appear to be for younger children, middle-grade readers will be better equipped to make sense of the astronomy and the historical context. The oil paintings are handsome and also effective in creating a sense of Copernicus' life in Poland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. On some pages, however, the art seems to overwhelm the text, particularly when the paint-textured backgrounds make reading a bit difficult. On the best double-page spreads, though, the words stand out clearly, the large pictures on the facing pages illuminate the story and scientific concepts, and smaller, decorative pictures unify the text and art. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My [...] year-old astronomer-in-the-making adores Dennis Fradin's Copernicus, the reading of which has led to a desire to visit Frombork and its Nicolaus Copernicus Museum! That is the power of this beautifully illustrated biography, which touches on the social conditions in Poland at the time of Copernicus, the science of the Copernican system, as well as relating the essential story of the man himself. Parents and homeschooling families will find much to discuss and share in this book, although the text will stand on its own as well without additional enrichment or activities.

Fradin seems to have taken great care with the facts of the story. Unlike some science and biography related boks intended for children, Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth is a Planet is *accurate* and does not lose factual credibility in its effort to make understandable how and why Copernicus arrived at his famous conclusions. Nor does the story shy away from the consequences that arose for scientists of the time who dared to contradict the Church, but rather addresses them in a non-scary, kid-appropriate way.

All in all, a wonderful effort and one I'm glad my family has experienced.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By IIJuan12 on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My children (ages 2, 4, & 8) enjoyed this book. I was so excited to find a children's biography on Copernicus. It has delightful, medieval-type drawings and seems to be historically accurate. The author did his research and does a wonderful job portraying the information in a manner that appeals to children. I'm always concerned about how authors present the church. Fradin mentions how Copernicus spent much of his life as a clergyman and didn't print his findings for fear of going against the church's teachings; however, he did print them just before he died. I thought it was a fair portrayal. I thought this was a great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Reiserer on March 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son enjoyed this book. The history may not be quite right (is it ever?), but it has a nice story line and nice illustrations which makes it a great bed time story for aspiring scientists.
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By Heather J. Keimig on January 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
We read this to flesh out our study of some of the great astronomers. It happened to be the only book for children in my local library and I was delighted with its quality! A real hit!

The illustrations are beautiful and add a huge amount to the text. The text itself is well-chosen, concise, thorough but not "too much" for even my Kindergartener to listen to. At the same time, my 6th grader came away with a decent amount of framework on this man's life.

I later read the Wiki article on his life and found that (somewhat predictably) the story of is life is bit more "convoluted" and complicated than this book presents, but I still think it did a good job of presenting the facts of his life in a way that would neither overly gloss over the truths, nor present it all as messy and/or confusing.

My one complaint was the lack of Catholic terminology used in the text, which left me thinking that he had been a priest (but that this was then "translated" into American Protestantism with the use of words like "services" instead of "Mass," etc.). In fact, he only received some of the lower "ranks" of Holy Orders, but not the priesthood, although the Wiki article indicates that he may have been ordained such later in life. Regardless, the lower orders would have labeled him a cleric, but not a priest. Confusing, to be sure, to explain to modern American children - even Catholic ones! A minor complaint....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Smagin on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is very good reading. It was purchased to donate to a school library during Polish Heritage Month to inform the children about Polish people in history.
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More About the Author

"I have the time of my life as a children's author," says Dennis Brindell Fradin, prolific author of close to one hundred and fifty books. "I try not to let a day of the year go by without working." Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, he earned a creative writing degree from Northwestern University, then taught elementary school for twelve years. In 1989, the National College of Education honored him as the Educator of the Year. He is married to writer Judith Bloom Fradin, who did the photo research on this book. They live in Evanston, Illinois and have three grown children.

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