There he is, Einstein, floating on the cover. No horizon line holds him to the ground, and his eyes are fastened on the sun.
Loose lines, gestural paintings, and gorgeous watery gouache come together to make me appreciate the childhood of Einstein…and serve to make children want to learn more about him, too. And now that Vladimir Radunsky is a naturalized citizen of these here United States of America, we can talk stop worrying about that little detail.
Sam Bloom wrote this lovely review in July. And to prove that I (in the hinterlands of Tennessee) do not coordinate with the Boston Big Wigs, here is Wednesday’s take on some great new science titles, including On a Beam of Light.
I was wowed by this book at ALA annual, even dragging people to the Chronicle booth so I could read large sections aloud to them. What did I like?
1. The endpapers are bedecked in plaid (referring to Einstein’s clothes and the clothes of the young scientists on final page) and serve as both the dedication page and copyright page. That is different. In a good way. I assume that they ran out of pages and came up with a winning solution.
2. The textured paper gives everything a warm, handmade feel.
3. I love the opening pages when Albert doesn’t say anything until about age three, but his parents love him…no matter what. Somehow, when you look at his parents, you know they have waited a long time for a baby and are willing to stay on his time frame. They watched him and knew his curiosity was something to encourage.
4. I love all the visual symbolism: Einstein looking out the (little boxes) of windows, when he had “lots of extra time to think and wonder.” Pointillism to show the existence of atoms. Crazy busy ink lines to show that “everything is always moving.” Albert floating, floating in a translucent sailboat over nothing and into nothing when he lets his mind wander.
It’s the warmth of this book that has stayed with me. I loved Albert, loved his parents, and wanted to know even more about him after reading this book.
The endnotes were very helpful, but the bibliography only referred to books for older readers (or from 1988). There is a dandy web address for the Einstein Archives Online, which is pretty fabulous, but not exactly child-friendly either. This might (or might not) be more of an issue for the Sibert committee than for the Caldecott.
Have you seen this? Have you shared this?
See, I didn’t even mention gutters. Aren’t you proud?