Losure, Mary. Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d. Biography. Candlewick, 02/2017. 164pp. $19.99. 978-0-7636-7063-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 6-12.
This unusual biography of the revolutionary thinker Isaac Newton focuses on his interest in alchemy and how that led him to more practical scientific discoveries. The narrative is almost like a novel, using a formal tone that suits the time period and subject, showing Newton as a shy, solitary individual fascinated with both magic and science. The majority of the text focuses on his youth and calls him Isaac throughout, but it works since he is so young for much of the story. Losure includes quotations from his journals and letters, and the illustrative matter consists of reproductions of historic book illustrations and Newton’s writings and codes. This could lead readers to more traditional biographies on Newton, but the unique style is a great way to introduce him to contemporary readers. Back matter includes an index, bibliography, and source notes.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool