Einstein shows no signs of losing his spot as Most Famous Scientist Ever, and here Meltzer makes a brave attempt to explain to younger middle-grade readers why that should be so. Discussions of Einstein’s pacifism and deep involvement in human-rights issues share at least equal time with his scientific insights and discoveries. The polished, math-free narrative covers the biographical high spots, from Einstein’s youth and schooling (“girls liked this good-looking teenager”) through his ground-breaking explanations of the relationship between matter and energy, time and space. Then it chronicles his opposition to World War I, his move to the United States as Hitler came to power, his renowned letter to FDR (the first page of which is reproduced, as one of a small selection of period photos) and his later career as scientific icon. Falling in length and level of detail between Don Brown’s Odd Boy Out (2004) and Marfé Ferguson Delano’s Genius: A Photobiography of Albert Einstein (2005), this profile will give both thinking children and adult new readers a clear sense of the man’s searching intellect and fierce heart. (Biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1966-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2008

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Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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