Kid Lit Review of “On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne

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This book is so beautifully designed and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky that it is impossible not to be drawn into the story. But the author does an excellent job with the text as well. Einstein is depicted as curious, charmingly eccentric, and always deep in thought, “sometimes eating an ice-cream cone.”

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When Einstein was little, he imagined racing through space on a beam of light. What would happen if he did that? He began to read and study. He continued to wonder about everything even as an adult:

“Albert watched a lump of sugar dissolve and disappear into his hot tea. How could this happen? He watched the smoke from his pipe swirl and disappear into the air. How could one thing disappear into another?”

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He thought about very big things, like the size of the universe, and very small things, like what goes on inside the tiniest particles.

Some of his ideas about how things worked are presented in a simple way, but mostly there are just indications of the importance of his thinking:

“Albert’s ideas helped build spaceships and satellites that travel to the moon and beyond. His thinking helped us understand our universe as no one ever had before.”

Best of all, the book asserts that “Albert left us many big questions….Questions that someday YOU may answer…by wondering, thinking, and imagining.”

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Illustrator Radunsky is a treasure. His pen and ink images on textured paper defy space and gravity, pay homage to evolution, and show how the medium can be meta, as with his use of pointillism on the pages devoted to Einstein’s meditations on atoms, and his playful expression of perspective: it’s all relative! The cleverness and whimsy of the pictures is a perfect fit for the story of Einstein.

End notes include a list of additional resources.

Evaluation: I have looked at the pictures over and over in this book. Chronicle Books, which specializes in works of art and design, has done an excellent job in putting together this book. It will encourage young children to see not only the possibilities of imagination, but will also give them an appreciation for the beauty and delight of artistic rendition.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 5/5

Published by Chronicle Books, 2013

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5 Responses to Kid Lit Review of “On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne

  1. jama says:

    The illustrations are so charming. Love Einstein and the ice cream cone!

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    You find the best books! This one looks terrific!

  3. sandynawrot says:

    Just wow. What incredible illustrations. And I can’t help but thinking that my boy entertains these questions on a daily basis.

  4. kissacloud says:

    Oh wow, that sounds like such a lovely book! And the illustrations are just precious. I’m dying to get my hands on it! Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Jill.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Love it. Off to the library website! Gage would be more interested if it showed him traveling on a train 🙂

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