Galileo’s Journal book cover image

Galileo’s Journal

  • 795

By: Jeanne K. Pettenati / Illustrated by: Paolo Rui

The earliest space exploration began with a simple lens.

Before man ever walked on the moon, Galileo traveled there through his incredible spyglass. Galileo’s initial observations led to more questions, which in turn led to further explorations. Then in the year 1610, Galileo made an important, but controversial, discovery. Read this fictional journal to find out how Galileo figured out one of the secrets of the universe.

The exciting adventures of Galileo and his faithful dog Luna will inspire young readers to ask questions, take notes, and embark on their own journeys of discovery.

Rich illustrations take readers into the fascinating world of the 17th century, when people thought the earth was the center of the universe.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Jeanne K. Pettenati, author

After reading Dave Sobel's Galileo's Daughter, Jeanne Pettenati was hooked on the life and studies of Galileo Galilei. She read all she could find about him. While looking for a book about the scientist for her young daughter, she found nothing that expressed Galileo's own journey. She began to research the months Galileo spent inventing his telescope and, using her imagination, she wondered what his journal might contain.

Read more about Jeanne.

Paolo Rui, illustrator

Paolo Rui is the illustrator of Da Vinci: Renaissance Painter (Mason Crest) and Van Gogh (Mason Crest). He lives in Milan, Italy.

Awards & Honors:

  • Land of Enchantment Book Award (Master Reading list)

Editorial Reviews:


In this fictional journal, Galileo records events during eight months of his life, a pivotal time when he heard about the invention of the telescope, developed his own, and made landmark discoveries about the moon, Jupiter, and movement of objects in the sky. After observing four shifting "stars" near Jupiter over a period of time and deducing that they were moons orbiting the planet, he concluded that he had found further evidence that the sun is the center of the solar system. This picture book vividly shows Galileo's drive to improve the telescope as well as his observations, analyses, and conclusions. Pettenati appends a summary of Galileo's life, a note separating truth from fiction in the text, and a source bibliography. Though the accomplished paintings sometimes seem over-the-top in their jovial scenes of Galileo and his fictional dog (both shown grinning or smiling in nearly every illustration), this unusual picture book is a valuable addition to library collections because of its depiction of the scientist at work. –Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal

This picture book combines attractive illustrations and lively text to provide an introductory glimpse into the life of Galileo, imagining what he might have written in his journal. It focuses on the scientists improvement of the telescope and his subsequent realization that planets other than the Earth also have moons and rotate around the sun rather than the Earth. While the story joins fabricated thoughts and dialogue with actual science and biography, Pettenati does a good job, both in the text and in an authors note about the scientists life, of clearly pointing out the difference between her creation and historical data. A fictional dog, Luna, adds playfulness to the story and gives it a more personal feel, as do Ruis lighthearted illustrations. Pair this title with Peter Síss exceptional Starry Messenger (Farrar, 1996) to provide a fun introduction to Galileo and to inspire young readers to explore further. –Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Library, UT


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ISBN: 978-1-57091-880-3

Ages: 8-11
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11

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