This is a beautiful book and I’m sure when I get a copy for my library it will go in the biography section. But it’s not the kind of book you’d read for a report on Albert Einstein. It’s one of those new, what should I call them, inspirational biographies? No, that’s not quite it. Maybe “Everybody biographies.” Because the E section of elementary libraries is for picture books and these type of biographies aren’t for research, but for everybody to enjoy like a picture book. I’ve noticed a few of these lately like Me…Jane, Before John was a Jazz Giant, and this author’s other book, Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau.
It’s a light, whimsical introduction to the life and major accomplishments of Albert Einstein for the K-3 set. It tells of his selective muteness as a child, his difficulties with traditional school, his patent job which he got so he could also work on his physics papers, then his fame as someone who changed our way of thinking. The major metaphor is his imagining himself if he could travel on a beam of light and what that would mean and be like.
But more that just a book about Albert Einstein, it’s about that sense of wonder and that drive to understand. It could have been music, like John Coltrane, or art, like Frida Khalo or biology and the natural world like Jane Goodall and Jacques Cousteau but for young Albert it happened to be the areas of physics, going beyond Newton.
It begins when, to keep his sick child something to occupy him, Albert’s father gives the boy a compass. It thrills him. “Suddenly he knew there were mysteries in the world–hidden and silent, unknown and unseen.” And goes from there.
The art is perfect. It’s loose lines, soothing colors, and has a wry, doodle-like quality that adds to the sense of someone alone thinking interesting thoughts. You can speed through it or linger and ponder as the mood takes you.
So yes, I realize this is non-fiction, but it is definitely the kind of book that fits my mission of finding books to share that will help raise young geeklings.