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Middle Grade Non-Fiction 420
A book from the Great Minds of Science series
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For the type of book that this is (a historical biography of a scientist part of the Great Minds of Science series from Enslow Publishers), it really wasnt a bad read. What I mean is that this is, by nature of the beast, a pretty dry subject and the author, Ana Maria Rodriguez, manages to keep the information fairly entertaining and the story moving along.

Edward Jenner lived back in the eighteenth century when smallpox was a disease that commonly killed hundreds of people and left others scarred and blind. Jenner studied cowpox, a related disease, for over 20 years and ultimately discovered how cowpox could be used to vaccinate people against smallpox. Through his efforts and those of others, smallpox would eventually be pretty much eradicated.

The book covers Jenners family life and early beginnings, as well as his studies. A quiet, retiring man, it is almost surprising his work would ultimately lead him to great things. As related in the book, he was dedicated, but almost shy.

One thing that I think the book does really well is relate how long the scientific process took, especially given the tools of the day. Jenner had to be dedicated to his cause for years and years and he never gave up, no matter what his colleagues thought (they certainly didnt support him the whole time; in fact, many thought he was a bit crazy to approach the smallpox problem the way he did).

I would definitely recommend this book for classroom use or for a student looking for information for a report. Unless a child is very scientifically-minded, I doubt if they would pick this one up without some provocation. Suitable for ages 8-ish and up.
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