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Thomas Jefferson's Battle for Science

Bias, Truth, and a Mighty Moose!



Calkins Creek

(Astra Books for Young Readers)

(pub. 5.14.2024)

48 pages

Ages 7 -10

Author: Beth Anderson

   Illustrator: Jeremy Holmes

Character: Thomas Jefferson's


" Young Thomas Jefferson loved to measure the natural world: plants and animals, mountains and streams, crops and weather. With a notepad in his pocket, he constantly examined, experimented, and explored. He dreamed of making great discoveries like the well-known scientific author, Count Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon.

But when Buffon published an encyclopedia of the natural world, Jefferson was furious! According to the French count, America was cold and swampy, and filled with small and boring animals, nothing like the majestic creatures of the OId World. Jefferson knew Buffon had never even been to America. Where had Buffon gotten his information? Had he cherry-picked the facts to suit his arguments? Was he biased in favor of Europe?

How could Jefferson prove Buffon wrong? By using scientific inquiry, of course! This first picture book to emphasize Jefferson’s use of scientific methods is an accessible and entertaining approach to a lesser-known side of Jefferson."

Tantalizing taste:


A stench as mighty as the MOOSE!

A FEW DAYS LATER, a colossal box arrived - with a monstrous stench.

Thomas peered at the moose. Not magnificent, but BIG. He sent it off, with apologies for the moose's hair and mismatched antlers."

And something more: Beth Anderson explains in the Author's Note: "As an amateur scientist, Jefferson understood how a limited amount of information and unreliable sources created mistruths. He understood how easily people were fooled when these ideas came from someone with power and authority. He also understood how hard it was to get rid of misinformation once it spread. Buffon's ideas took more than a century to completely fade away."


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