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by Lynne Barasch & illustrated by Lynne Barasch

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-30435-1
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

When seven-year-old April sees her adored older sister Annabel struggling with her trigonometry, she appeals to Albert Einstein for help. April ingenuously narrates the story, which takes place in 1952 and is based on an actual historical incident. This is promising enough stuff, but Barasch’s tale just tries too hard to be complete. April’s quest for help for her sister takes her to the library, where she reads “a lot of confusing stuff.” Not understanding it, but writing it down anyway, April attempts to distill such complex matters as the theory of relativity—a well-meaning effort that is likely to baffle her readers. That Einstein comes through in the end will not surprise those readers, but they are as unlikely to understand the answer he provides as they are the initial trigonometry problem. The concept is appealing enough—famous scientist helps kid—and the loose watercolor vignettes ably convey both Annabel’s anxiety and April’s desire to help, but the narrative’s attempt to convey even the bare bones of Einstein’s theory serves only to confuse the readers it hopes to communicate with. (Picture book. 5-8)