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IT’S A SNAP! by Monica Kulling

IT’S A SNAP!

George Eastman’s First Photograph

By Monica Kulling (Author) , Bill Slavin (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88776-881-1
Publisher: Tundra

As a reprieve from long hours in the banking business, George Eastman pursued photography as a hobby. In 1877 this was a demanding pastime that involved armloads of equipment and an arduous chemical process. He imagined a better way and tinkered for several years to create dry plates and then film. The resulting invention, the Kodak camera, put photography into the hands of the mass public for the first time. It’s challenging to explain the origins of a device that is currently ubiquitous (for the many readers who will wonder what “film” is, there is a concluding note that mentions digital photography). Kulling’s narrative frames this history in relatable terms through Eastman’s life and work. Some details of his processes are obscure, and a few phrases may confuse young readers (“George had a brain wave”). Slavin’s pen-and-ink–with-watercolor illustrations depict the time, while grayscale scrapbook-style pictures evoke the look of early photography. This inaugural title in the Great Idea series is lively, but the unsourced dialogue and the absence of any bibliography or suggestions for further reading is regrettable. (Picture book. 4-8)