What Miss Mitchell Saw
by Barrett, Hayley; Sudyka, Diana (ILT)

A picture book introduction to the life and achievements of America's first professional female astronomer describes how stargazer Maria Mitchell discovered a new comet in the skies above her Nantucket home. By the author of Babymoon. 10,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Hayley Barrett is the author of three picture books, Babymoon, What Miss Mitchell Saw, and Girl Versus Squirrel. She lives and writes outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

Diana Sudyka is a Chicago-based illustrator. Early on, she created screen-printed gig posters for musicians but currently her illustration work focuses on young adult, middle grade, and children&;s books. She has illustrated several volumes of the award-winning book series The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, as well as the picture books Sometimes Rain by Meg Fleming, What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett, and How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward. Visit her at DianaSudyka.com.

On an October evening in 1847, Maria Mitchell identified a comet in the heavens. Two days later, a Vatican astronomer saw it, too, but the world's scientific community rightfully agreed to credit Maria with the discovery, naming the object Miss Mitchell's Comet. Barrett begins with Maria's Nantucket childhood, where Sudyka's gorgeous gouache-and-watercolor starscapes already bleed through the fabric of her reality, shimmering in the ocean waters and along the hems of her dresses. The art often utilizes visual metaphor; dialogue flows across the page in swirling ribbons of text as Maria's father teaches her how to "sweep the sky." The language is simple and lyrical, preferring to evoke the wonder of the subject rather than get bogged down in scientific detail, and yet it manages to infuse a healthy dose of education, describing instruments and methods, as well as celestial objects. Back matter further details Mitchell's distinguished career, and an author's note gives an inspiring call to action. A beautiful biography about one watchful woman being seen by the world. Grades K-3. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

A tale of astronomical accomplishment. Born on the island of Nantucket, Maria Mitchell grows up among the dunes and knows the local whaling vessels and shopkeepers by name. Illustrations rendered in gouache, watercolor, and ink initially depict her island world and move on to the endless sky she later studies. Because of her hardworking nature—she perseveres at school despite finding it challenging—her mother suggests her father take her on as an astronomy assistant. This leads Maria to learn the stars, planets, and celestial events by name as well, as she begins to "sweep the sky" with her telescope. Later on, she notices a new glow—a comet! At the advice of her father, she reports her discovery, which earns her a gold medal from the king of Denmark and worldwide recognition. While the text has a nice flow and a poetic feel, the meaning of the specialized vocabulary introduced is not always evident. Though the illustrations of an all-white cast in old-fashioned garb set the story squarely in the past, the time frame is not presented until the final notes, and readers unfamiliar with women's history may be unaware of how unusual Mitchell's accomplishments were if they miss them. Still, this is an engaging story of women's history and astronomy that may inspire readers to further biographical research and exploration of STEM. An involving addition to the women-in-STEM shelves. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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