Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize #Bookaday review

By Kathy-Jo Wargrin & Zachary Pullen

Title: Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize

Author: Kathy-Jo Wargin (writer), Zachary Pullen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication year: 2009
Category: Picture Book (non-fiction)
Source: Monroe 1 BOCES Overdrive E-Book Collection

Summary: Biographical account of Alfred Nobel's life from his refinement of nitroglycerin into Dynamite to his decision to try to change what he would be known for after his death.

Review: I was decidedly underwhelmed by this book. I felt the story was dull and did not match the tone of the illustrations. While the book presented the facts of Alfred's life plainly, it felt incomplete, as it didn't address why Alfred Nobel chose to honor the fields he did, outside a passing refrence in the initial pages to the fact that he loved writing and poetry as much as science and chemistry as young man.

Classroom Use: While I would like to have picturebook biography of Alfred Nobel, this would not be my first choice.

 

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Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne & Eric Puybaret

Manfish cover

by Jennifer Berne & Eric Puybaret

Title: Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

Author: Jennifer Berne (writer), Δ–ric Puybaret (illustrator)

Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication year: 2008
Category: Picture Book (non-fiction)
Source: Monroe 1 BOCES Overdrive E-Book Collection

Summary: A biographical account of Jacques Cousteau's life from his childhood fascination with water to his life activist and film-maker.

Review: I liked the introduction of Cousteau as curious child, whose interest in the ocean was matched by his interest in mechanical engineering & film making. I wish more time was spent on his development of the aqualung. The illustrations were elegant and subdued, but still captured the vibrancy of ocean teeming with life.

Classroom Use: I would use this as a non-fiction read-a-loud with students 4-8th grade. It will also be a wonderful addition to units on the ocean.