Friday, March 1, 2013

PPBF: Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.

Author: Wendy Macdonald
Illustrator: Paolo Rui
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Date: 2000

Ages: 7-11

Themes: Galileo, scientists, gravity, experiments

Jacket Flap: The Farm Boy and the Scientist: Every week Massimo the farm boy delivers lunch to his uncle-by dropping it off a bridge onto his uncle's boat. One day, a stranger notices something odd about the way the food falls. The heavier cheese and the lighter bread land at the exact moment. How can this be?
The stranger is the young professor Galileo. Together he and Massimo start to explore the way objects fall. What happens if you drop a feather and a hammer? A rock and a sheet of paper? To test their ideas, they conduct one of the most famous experiments of all time.

First paragraph: Massimo threw a stone off the bridge and watched it fall-plop-into the river. "Hey, Massimo! Why don't you come with me?" called a boy herding a flock of goats across the bridge. Massimo waved. "Thanks, but I have to wait for my uncle's boat."

Why I like this book: We need more picture books that convey a fairly complex concept in simple terms. "Galileo" does that, and retells an important part of history at the same time. The photos are appealing, and the text engaging, as they draw us into the story of another era.

Activities for Kids:

Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment can be found here.

Fun Activities for the country of Italy here

Leaning Tower activities, here.

Architectural activities here.

Activities for Galileo himself, here.

Enjoy your day!


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, definitely a boy's book, Catherine!

  2. This looks like a wonderful way to show children how complex issues can be discovered with simple observations. Hooray for science!

  3. What a wonderful book, Jarm. I love the genre.

    1. Yes, Laura, as you can see, I am drawn to (and would like to write) historical fiction.

  4. You hooked me with the title Jarm! I love historical fiction and stories that teach kids about science in a fun way. Wish I had seen it first. Great choice!

    1. Thanks Patricia! My eyes scans the shelves at our local children's library for books of this nature. I love them, too!

  5. Stunning illustrations! I am so excited about all of the historical or non-fiction based creative picture books that get published. I wish there would have been more when I was young—it wouldn't have taken me so long to foster a deep appreciation for history!

    1. I agree, Miranda. I've been using this genre of PBs in our home education. And, my kids love history! I didn't when I was their age...

  6. This sounds excellent. Thanks for sharing it, Jarm!


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