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Hardcover The Librarian Who Measured the Earth Book

ISBN: 0316515264

ISBN13: 9780316515269

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

A perfect introduction to mathematical concepts for young readers, written by a Newbery honor-winning author This colorfully illustrated biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and accurately measured the globe's circumference, is just right for budding mathematicians, scientists, historians, and librarians Filled with fascinating details about Eratosthenes's world (and in print since 1994),...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Have genius, will measure!

It is amazing how the union of art and words can produce a book so full of wonders. How to count them? How to describe them? Perhaps the bibliography is the place to begin. The writer Kathryn Lasky consulted nine sources for the information incorporated into the story of Eratosthenes; Kevin Hawkes, the illustrator, used sixteen. Each double-page spread of illustration displays the artist's extensive knowledge of all things Greek and Cyrenian (Greek city on the coast of Africa in what is now Libya, where Eratosthenes grew up). Textile patterns, Greek urn art, linens, palm trees, brick work, plant life, housing, clothing styles, educational settings, musical instruments, mathematical counting methods, colors, architecture, landscaping. These are just a few items from the first few pages. The artwork is truly magnificent, yet part of the story as information. His intense and deep bright colors match the intensity of North Africa. Lasky also pours information into the story, revealing pretty much what it was like in Eratosthenes' day. As for Eratosthenes, Lasky notes in the introduction that not much is known about his life, but much is known of the Greek world, its people, and its culture. All Lasky had to do was place an intensely curious child into the Greek setting to lay the background for the development of this genius. As a librarian, I was most impressed with the library in Alexandria and how it was run. Being named head librarian was a real turning point for Eratosthenes, as the library put at his disposal all the information he needed for solving a long-time problem that occupied his mind: How big around is the Earth? Finally, using methods over my head, Eratosthenes determined the earth's circumference at 24,662 miles, just two hundred miles off the correct figure. Solving this problem also meant concluding his book, Geographica, the first geography book of the world. Measuring the earth is but one aspect of Erathosthenes' life. As a student in Athens, he was nicknamed Pentathlos because he was good in so many areas of knowledge. Eventually, he became tutor to Ptolemy III's son. This is one of those very special books for children that presents not only a story of an admirable person, but also the absolute beauty found only in the art tools of the most talented illustrator. Lasky and Hawkes have created a must-have book for libraries, both school and home!

Great job combining math, history, science & geography!

This is a picture book format biography of Eratosthenes, who lived in Ancient Greece, focusing on how he calculated the size of the Earth using a mathematical formula and measurements taken by measuring shadows and length of footsteps from one location to another. Eratostehenes had many roles and talents, one being that he was a mathematician and author of books on several topics. He wrote the first geography book, which included the first map of the world and the first documentation of the size of the Earth. The publisher says this is for ages 4-8 however the math concept of the formula he used to determine the size of the Earth was too complex for my 6 year old to grasp. The text is long-ish compared to a typical picture book as well, so I think this can extend a little beyond 8 yrs. if it is acting as a brief biography. I am not sure how many chapter book format biographies are out there for kids 9 and up on Eratosthenes, so this may be better than nothing for older kids! The colorful pictures are nice and really compliment the text, especially when showing how he thought about measuring the Earth and comparing it to a grapefruit. It also addresses the idea of asking questions, curiosity, and making guesses at answers about things in the world that they did not yet know about. This is a combination of history, math, and geography with a little scientific thought thrown in. It laid out his first questions and theories and how he came up with different ideas to come up with a way to measure a part of the land. We learn about what worked and what failed, leading up to how he finally came to a method that he thought was accurate, and why he thought this formula would work. His computation was about 200 miles off of the distance we measured in this century! Within the story we learn about what schools were like for boys in Ancient Greece, that books were in scroll format, what libraries were like (and that they were rare) and other tidbits.There is a bibliography included that can be used for further reading resources as well. This book is also a great example of how one book can cross over several subject areas: math, history, science and geography.

Perfect for Middle School Math & "Read Across America"

As a teacher, I've used this book for several years as a "read-aloud" in my sixth grade math classroom. I time it with my geometry units. It's a hit every time. The kids truly love it, and ask great follow-up questions. The book explains the math involved in finding the circumference of the earth 2000 years ago. The language and great illustrations make the math easy to understand. Since the students also read mythology in reading class, it's a perfect cross-curricululm connection. In the past two years, I've timed it to coincide with the "Read Across America" movement on March 2.

Librarian - excellent science!

The notion of being able to measure the circumference of the Earth without high-tech assistance is fascinating. The book clearly shows how a clever man not only demonstrated that the Earth is spherical, but how one can measure its circumference with good accuracy.I liked to book a lot.

Great inter-disciplinary material

This is an excellent book for students of all ages! The story of the project to measure the earth well before Columbus reminds student that history has myths. Many people not only knew the earth was round but also about how big it was. Columbus ignored this ancient data and grossly miscalculacted the circumference. This book is a resource for studies across the curriculum. Including history, math, and geography in a fairly easy to read format. The age 4-8 for reading level is not accurate. The reading is probably around intermediate grade level and much of the technical information is secondary school level. It is a super adition to any library.
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