by Abner Shimony
School Library Journal
: YA--In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII, following the advice of astronomer Christopher Clavius, decided to drop 10 days from the calendar that was currently in use throughout the world. Hence, Thursday, October 4, 1582 (Julian), would be followed by Friday, October 15, 1582 (Gregorian). Shimony charmingly describes these events through the eyes of Tibaldo Bondi, a student at the prestigious St. Joseph-in-the-Corner school in Bologna. Since he is about to lose his 12th birthday in the reorganization of the calendar, the determined and astute young man sets about finding a solution to his dilemma. Weaving fictitious characters and events into actual occurrences, the author vividly brings 16th-century Italy to life. Readers learn about the tribulations of school children during this era (try multiplying 488 by 877 in Roman numerals) as well as the scientific understandings of Clavius and Copernicus. The book is illustrated with drawings that reflect the art of the period. The tale is followed by two readable astronomy lectures, one about the seasons and the other about the appearance of stars from various locations on Earth, which will have particular appeal to readers whose scientific curiosity has been piqued by Tibaldo's story.
Carol DeAngelo, Garcia Consulting Inc., EPA Headquarters, Washington, Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms