ALBIE'S FIRST WORD by Jacqueline Tourville
Kirkus Star


A Tale Inspired by Albert Einstein's Childhood
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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The fact that Albert Einstein uttered his first words later in life than most children inspired this quirky, endearing tribute to the famous scientist and humanitarian.

“Albie, as everyone called Albert, liked to do all the things other children did.” This sentence floats in white space above an intriguing piece of artwork, nicely framed within an oval shape: In muted tones of amber, a boy clad in 19th-century clothes is leaping over black-and-white tiles and then over a threshold into a just-barely-seen, brighter room. The artwork’s subliminal message compels readers to turn the page. Thereafter, the text intersperses its tale of a mute little boy with nuggets of historical and cultural reality describing the lives of the German upper middle class in the late 1800s. There are even some German words. The simple story is told with heart, suspense and gentle humor. The complementary artwork features appropriately detailed backgrounds and beautiful chiaroscuro juxtaposed with an Albie whose body exhibits exaggerated toddler proportions and whose face looks modeled in clay. Readers of all ages will enjoy the wise and witty climax, and older readers will appreciate the endpapers—reproduced from Einstein’s “Zürich Notebook”—and the thoughtful author’s note.

More than a distinctive introduction to Albert Einstein, this book promotes both understanding of difference and scientific curiosity. (glossary, photograph) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-307-97893-6
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2014


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