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Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd Hardcover – February 1, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Losure brings a world-renowned scientist to life. Isaac Newton's story, from his tough formative years through the end of his life, is ably told and peppered with a mix of Old English and scientific terms. Fascinating details, such as experiments with mercury that involved him tasting the poisonous element, humanize him and will keep reader interest high. Losure adeptly presents the complex subjects of chemistry, math, and physics, along with alchemy-related recipes, by breaking up the narrative with engrossing images from Newton's published and private works and other books that he used or referred to in his research. The back matter includes excerpts from Newton's journals and other contemporaneous texts and an author's note that explains how Losure researched and used these materials—an excellent addition to reinforce lessons on how to find and use primary sources. VERDICT Losure has written a volume that both informs and excites. Highly recommended for middle school science biography sections.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
Much about Newton's life has to be conjecture, but the author adds details from history and from her understanding of human behavior that make this splendid story both convincing and accessible to her readers. Illustrations, engravings from the time and pages from his notes, and interesting afterwords add to the appeal. Narrative nonfiction at its best and most convincing.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Losure adeptly presents the complex subjects of chemistry, math, and physics, along with alchemy-related recipes...an excellent addition to reinforce lessons on how to find and use primary sources. Losure has written a volume that both informs and excites. Highly recommended for middle school science biography sections.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Perhaps even more impressive than her re-creation of Newton’s world, however, is her re-creation of the man himself—or rather, the boy who became the man—without embellishing the historical record with speculation and conjecture. Thus, the reader is left with the bare facts of Newton’s life—his difficult and troubled childhood, his prodigious talent at Cambridge, his prickly and reclusive nature, and his famous Laws of Motion—but more importantly, Losure has communicated his very essence, recalling Albert Einstein’s assertion that "imagination is more important than knowledge."
—Horn Book (starred review)
In this charming biography of Isaac Newton (1642–1727), Losure (Wild Boy) posits that "this last sorcerer—this greatest of all alchemists—was the same man who banished magic from the scientific world." ... Period images and afterwords with curiosity-spiking headings such as "Stinks, Bangs & More Chymical Secrets" bring additional depth and interest to this study of Newton’s surprising pursuits.
Losure’s treatment of those investigations is no arcane intellectual exercise but a biography that, in a manner similar to Kathleen Krull’s lively Isaac Newton (BCCB 5/06), delights in her subject’s curmudgeonly quirks and intellectual prowess...Losure’s "Most Amazing Addendum" offers excerpts from period notebooks and writings that readers won’t want to miss, as well as the expected citations, sources, and index.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Concise and direct, this biography of Isaac Newton makes optimal use of primary sources...A useful book on all counts.
—School Library Connection
Mary Losure dilates on [the] private quirks of the future mathematician and physicist in ‘Isaac the Alchemist,' a highly enjoyable work of narrative nonfiction for 9- to 15-year-olds.
—The Wall Street Journal
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