Cover image for Nicolaus Copernicus : the earth is a planet
Nicolaus Copernicus : the earth is a planet
Fradin, Dennis B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Mondo Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A biography of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who challenged the belief of his age that Earth was the center of the universe and proved that it is, instead, a planet orbiting the Sun.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 0.5 88002.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB36.C8 F73 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography
QB36.C8 F73 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Here is the story of noted scientist and astronomer Nicholaus Copernicus, who, with his extensive research and controversial writings, ultimately challenged the way people viewed the Universe for ages. Born in the year 1473 in Poland, Copernicus was interested in science from a young age. He especially liked looking at the stars, and his favorite subject in while attending school was astronomy. But Copernicus disagreed with what he was taught as a student. His teachers claimed that the Earth remained stationary while the heavenly bodies circled it. Copernicus believed that the Earth moved and spun on it's own. Young readers will be fascinated as they learn the details behind Copernicus's theories, why it took him over 30 years to finally publish a book on his in findings, and how it took many more years after that for people to accept his views as fact. Simply written and featuring full-color illustrations throughout, this inspirational and fascinating book is one of the few offered on the topic.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. This handsome, if brief, biography of Copernicus introduces the man and his work on the heliocentric theory, for which he is best remembered. Fradin does a good job of explaining how Copernicus came to accept the notion that the planets revolve around the Sun and why it was such a revolutionary and dangerous idea to hold. Though this fully illustrated book might appear to be for younger children, middle-grade readers will be better equipped to make sense of the astronomy and the historical context. The oil paintings are handsome and also effective in creating a sense of Copernicus' life in Poland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. On some pages, however, the art seems to overwhelm the text, particularly when the paint-textured backgrounds make reading a bit difficult. On the best double-page spreads, though, the words stand out clearly, the large pictures on the facing pages illuminate the story and scientific concepts, and smaller, decorative pictures unify the text and art. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Late-medieval-style panels by Von Buhler (Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog) give this biography a vivid sense of the world Copernicus's discovery overturned; with their static figures and gold edges, they might almost be a series of altarpieces. Scarcity of biographical material about the astronomer makes writing a compelling account a tall task, though, and children who aren't already curious about the solar system may find the story dry. Fradin (The Signers) gives a straightforward account of Copernicus's early years, tracing the astronomer's insight into the planet Mars and its curious backward movement to an observation he made as a boy, riding in a wagon: "To a person moving fast, someone moving more slowly can appear to be going backward." How did Copernicus escape censure, and how did his ideas finally gain respect? The text doesn't shed much light ("But the truth couldn't be held back forever. Little by little, proof of the Copernican system was found"). Fortunately, Von Buhler's paintings exert a gravitational pull of their own. When Newton famously said, "If I have seen further than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants," he meant Copernicus and other early astronomers, Fradin states. In Von Buhler's panel, Copernicus gazes, clear-eyed, at the viewer, while out of his shoulders grow trees of reason, Newton and his apple in the branches of one, and Galileo and his telescope in the other. Readers will come away grasping the concept of intellectual history. Ages 7-12. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-This attractive picture-book biography includes many interesting facts about this fascinating 16th-century scientist. The author sketches Copernicus's childhood, his education in Poland, and his work as a clergyman and physician. However, the focus of the book is on the scholar's passion for astronomy and his rediscovery-after studying the works of the ancient Greeks-of the idea that the Earth is not the center of the universe but a planet orbiting the Sun. The writing of his masterpiece, Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, is also described. (However, the author's statement that this work "was one of the most important books ever written" is perhaps a little generous.) The text is beautifully supported by dramatic oil-on-gesso artwork. Some of the paintings depict the astronomer's life, but others illustrate the scientific concepts mentioned in the narrative. Von Buhler's style suggests the muted colors and two-dimensional quality of late-medieval illustration. Fradin's depiction of his subject is idealized but he mostly resists the temptation to fictionalize. This is a useful and accessible introduction to Copernicus's life and works, but the facts and details are too scant for reports. For that purpose, Catherine M. Andronik's Copernicus: Founder of Modern Astronomy (Enslow, 2002) offers more information.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.