Book Review : Charles Darwin :: Giants of Science Series

Charles Darwin by Kathleen Krull is part of her series called "Giants of Science". I have mentioned this books before here (bottom of the post) and here. My kids love them, especially my son (he's 12).

Today, I finished reading aloud Charles Darwin to Andre and we both really enjoyed this one, even though we have read quite a few books on Darwin already. Kathleen Krull writes in a way that entertains us but at the same time we still learn a lot. Her scientist biographies include many of the details we usually encounter in other books, but they also include interesting and "quirky" facts. In this one about Darwin for example, she mentons often his health issues. I am sharing with a short paragraph to give you a taste. My son loved this particular one:

"Darwin claimed he lost two of his barnacle years to illness - boils, insomonia, a "swimming head", what we today might call panic attacks. Stomach problems were common, even fashionable, among Victorian intellectuals. But Darwin's stomach took the prize - throbbing worse than ever, with spells of vomiting and extreme flatulence that lasted for weeks."

Here is another one that, as homeschoolers, we really appreciated. This quote was found closer to the beginning of the book, where the author writes about Darwin's childhood:

"Charles was not a good student. Once the headmaster even yelled at him and humilated him in front of the whole school for wasting his time. But for almost seven years, he was stuck at Shrewsbury School. "Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind"."

The book often includes quotes from Darwin and other scientists or family members. It also refers to many of the books he wrote. We also found a list of sources at the back of the book with other book titles (some for young readers) and web sites.

The books in the Giants of Science are not long and would be great for ages 10 and up. I read these aloud because I enjoy them. I think they would be a great addition to a homeschool science curriculum.

Kathleen Krull has also written many other biographies and other books for children. You can see a list of her books here.