Thursday, December 8, 2011



Summary: When Albert Einstein was born, he was an unattractive baby with a very large heard. As he grew he never seemed to fit in with his family or schoolmates.  However, that very large head of his was always busy looking for answers.  Despite being mocked routinely at school, Einstein was extremely clearly very gifted in certain areas despite his disinterest. The illustrations are portrayed in a simple color palette and instill a sense of isolation that Einstein himself must have felt. Einstein was always a little different but whatever was odd about him helped to view the world as no one else did.

Citation: Brown, D. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. Orlando, FL:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Impression: I found this book to be a little stark, both in illustrations and details. Of course, it is a picture book biography but seems to be too complicated for the youngest readers and slightly simple for older readers. The detailed note from the author will explain more details and there is an extensive bibliography. I did like the fact that this story showed Einstein as a child and through his school years. It ties up neatly with the image of Einstein pushing his own child in a carriage.


Taniguchi, M. (2004, October). [Book review of Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein, by D. Brown].  

            School Library Journal. Available from School Library Journal website:

This well-crafted picture-book biography focuses on Einstein's hard-to-classify brilliance, which led to awesome scientific discoveries, but all too often left him a misunderstood outsider. Brown describes his subject's loving, cultured parents who were frequently nonplussed by their son's behavior and temper. He found himself the "odd boy" at school, and as the only Jewish student, was sometimes taunted by other children. He puzzled his instructors as well; though clearly gifted in science, math, and music, he was an indifferent student in most subjects. Brown's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, rendered in a palette of dusky mauve and earthy brown, portray a doubtful, somewhat unhappy-looking child, except for a picture in which he gazes fondly at a compass, a gift that astonishes him as he ponders its mysteries. In many scenes he is marginalized on the sidelines, set apart by color and shading. One dramatic spread features an adult Einstein pushing his child in a carriage, looking small against a backdrop that highlights some of the scientific puzzles that so engaged him. Through eloquent narrative and illustration, Brown offers a thoughtful introduction to an enigmatic man. This book will pique the interest of readers with little or no knowledge of Einstein.

Uses: Using this book and other picture book biographies of scientist could be the basis of a library event about inventions and scientists. The program could have simple science experiments such as static electricity and starch viscosity. Other scientists that are featured could be Marie Curie and Thomas Edison.

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