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ON A BEAM OF LIGHT by Jennifer Berne Kirkus Star


by Jennifer Berne ; illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Pub Date: May 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7235-5
Publisher: Chronicle Books

A boy who asked too many questions becomes iconic physicist Albert Einstein, whose questions changed the world.

The author of Manfish (illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2008) presents another dreamer, a man who “asked questions never asked before. / Found answers never found before. / And dreamed up ideas never dreamt before.” Story and perfectly matched illustrations begin with the small boy who talked late, watched and thought, and imagined traveling through space on a light beam. Readers see the curious child growing into the man who constantly read and learned and wondered. With gouache, pen and ink, Radunsky’s humorous, childlike drawings convey Einstein’s personality as well as the important ideas in the text (which are set out in red letters). The narrative text includes several of Einstein’s big ideas about time and space; one illustration and the back endpapers include the famous formula. The mottled, textured paper of each page reinforces the concept that everything is made of atoms. A nice touch at the end shows children who might also wonder, think and imagine dressed in the professor’s plaid suit. An author’s note adds a little more about the person and the scientist.

For today’s curious children, this intriguing and accessible blend of words and pictures will provide a splendid introduction to a man who never stopped questioning.

(Picture book/biography. 6-9)