Monday, February 27, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Isaac the Alchemist


Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure, February 1, 2017. 176 pages. Published by Candlewick Press (MA). Source: ARC from publisher.
A surprising true story of Isaac Newton's boyhood suggests an intellectual development owing as much to magic as science.
Before Isaac Newton became the father of physics, an accomplished mathematician, or a leader of the scientific revolution, he was a boy living in an apothecary's house, observing and experimenting, recording his observations of the world in a tiny notebook. As a young genius living in a time before science as we know it existed, Isaac studied the few books he could get his hands on, built handmade machines, and experimented with alchemy--a process of chemical reactions that seemed, at the time, to be magical. Mary Losure's riveting narrative nonfiction account of Isaac's early life traces his development as a thinker from his childhood, in friendly prose that will capture the attention of today's budding scientists--as if by magic. Back matter includes an afterword, an author's note, source notes, a bibliography, and an index. 

First Sentence
In a museum in New York City, locked away where the public never goes, there's a notebook small enough to hold in the palm of your hand.




This book was definitely fascinating to read as it showed Isaac Newton in a new light. A light that one does not see when you study him in school; so, yes, it was interesting is somewhat odd at points.

I'm going to keep this relatively short as I'm running short on sleep at the moment.


  • I really wish that this had been a finished copy! Because some of the photos and illustrations would have looked so nice in color! I really enjoyed not only the writing and learning more about Isaac Newton himself, rather than just what he accomplished, as it made him seem more real...if you know what I mean. Yet, it was the illustrations and photos that really helped to give more breadth to the story.
  • I won't even bother talking about all the things he discovered since we all know what his accomplishments were. I want to talk about the person, Isaac Newton, yes that grumpy, unsocial smart guy who would have never shared his discoveries if someone hadn't (pretty much) made him/scorned his discovery. He was definitely an odd fellow, if the description on him from the book is correct. I'm frankly rather surprised that he didn't die young given that he often forgot to take care of himself. 
  • I enjoyed how Isaac the Alchemist took you from Isaac's youth all the way through his death. The author gave a broad scope of his entire life, including his struggles and triumphs, to really give the reader a range of knowledge about him. It was rather interesting to "see" him make these discoveries and how failure never really slowed him down; it just made him look at things from a different angle till the answer was found. The author, Mary Losure, did a wonderful job writing about him and his life. 

Final Verdict: Isaac the Alchemist- A fascinating look at Isaac Newton the person. Enjoyable and well written. 


Isaac the Alchemist earns

An advanced review copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

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