The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

Book cover: 'The Librarian Who Measured the Earth'
Kathryn Lasky
Little Brown Publishing
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This is a fascinating story, told for children and fully illustrated (beautiful full color pictures with interesting and at times humorous details) of the Greek Scientists, Mathematician and Astronomer - Eratosthenes. (Don't worry - the author does help you to pronounce the name). Eratosthenes was born in the 3rd century B.C. in the country we now call Libya to Greek parents. There he was educated in the classical Greel tradition and developed a keen interest in the world around him. As a young man he was sent to Athens to study where he became known as a scholar and historian. At 30 he was appointed tutor to the son of the King Ptolemy II of Egypt and so he settled in Alexandria. He became involved in the great Library at Alexandria where he eventually became head librarian. In this setting he worked on his most famous problem - attempting to calculate the circumference of the earth. The book takes us through the process he went through in solving the problem and illustrates the events and concepts involved in a way that can be grasped by young children (early gradeschool and up - although my preschoolers enjoyed the book without fully grasping all the details). The story is particularly interesting because his calculations were within 200 miles of our present day figures.

We enjoyed this book very much - the content is great and the illustrations are very nice. It would make a fine supplement for Greek History and encompasses a bit of Math and Science as well. The reading level is more challenging than your average picture book (perhaps 4th grade level) but it could be read aloud to younger children.

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