Hello, friends! Our book today is Marie Curie by Demi, a comprehensive look at the life and scientific contributions of the brilliant Madame Curie.
Born in Poland to a family of scientists and educators, Marie was fascinated by science at a young age. Despite an often-difficult childhood, she studied and worked to help fund not only her own college education in France, but her sister’s as well. It was at school at the Sorbonne that she would meet Pierre Curie, a fellow scientist who immediately recognized Marie’s brilliance. The two fell in love, married, had two children, and worked tirelessly on their research into radioactive elements. Marie would go on to win two Nobel Prizes (one with Pierre and one on her own), becoming the first person to do so. And while her work would ultimately lead to her demise, her contributions to science and medicine would save lives and change the world.
Listen, it’s pretty hard to mess up biography of Marie Curie, one of the greatest scientists of all time, and this one does okay. The descriptions of Marie’s early life – her academic excellence from toddler-age, her work-study arrangement with her sister, her early days as a researcher – this was all fascinating. But around the midpoint, the story begins to meander to the point that it became confusing, especially for younger readers. Tangents like a section covering the Radium Girls or the very technical aspects of separating pitchblende seemed tacked on. The folk-art inspired illustrations are quite nice, placing simple characters against brightly-patterned backgrounds, but a scene that accompanies Pierre Curie’s death disturbingly includes his corpse. The length is okay for slightly older bookworms, but JJ was clearly bored by the end. A biography that begins with promise but ultimately falls apart, and simply not the best we’ve seen. Not for us.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)