Sunday, January 31, 2021

Alan Turing and the Power of Curiosity


Alan Turing and the Power of Curiosity is a fictionalized biography of the famous mathematician and cryptanalyst and part of the My Super Science Heroes series. Due out 1st March 2021 from Sourcebook Kids, it's 50 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.

I'm a pretty huge science nerd myself and really love good biographies for kids about scientists. This was such an odd treatment. I do understand that the author/publishers are trying to jazz up the presentation and make it more super-hero-y, but the final product does a distinct disservice to the pretty super-hero-y reality of Turing, his *immense* contribution to the war effort, and the efforts of the entire team at Bletchley Park. 

Instead of being about Turing and the history of enigma and the war effort, it's fictionalized with an evil monster (Super Evil Nemesis) and his hench-monsters trying to Take Over The World (boo-hiss). With every hurdle, young Alan seems to sail effortlessly through (which is dangerous for young kids who take frustration for lack of talent with potentially disastrous results). Additionally the biography part of the book consists of young Alan being born, going to school, and suddenly being an adult. There's nothing about his life, really, apart from being born and going to school. I know there are a lot of aspects of Turing's life (and tragic death at the age of 41) which would be... challenging to include in an age-appropriate manner, but the author here has simply sidestepped the whole issue to the distinct detriment of the whole.

I will say that the art and illustration are top notch. There are some really captivating graphics, with sidebars and fun reader puzzles as well as lots of age-appropriate resources for further reading. The illustrations are colorful and full of small details which will fascinate and engage readers. It's unfortunately not, in my opinion, enough to counterbalance the really odd treatment. 

Three stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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