Thursday, December 4, 2014

Albie's First Word

Booklist (October 15, 2014 (Vol. 111, No. 4))
Grades 2-4. Spun from a remark of Albert Einstein’s that he took several years to begin talking, this mostly extrapolated tale takes a silent yet expressive lad through a series of experiences: family outings, concerts, a science lecture, and a model boat race. Despite the best efforts of his loving, worried parents and a wise doctor to elicit some comment or remark, little Albie never says a word—though he smiles, hums, gesticulates, and takes a lively interest in everything. Evans’ accomplished, atmospheric illustrations set apart this variation on a well-known aspect of Einstein’s childhood. In warm, softly focused scenes washed with golden light, Evans depicts a bright-eyed, large-headed child with amusingly recognizable features, and places him in a fully and carefully detailed late-nineteenth-century setting. Albie at last gives verbal expression after seeing a shower of falling stars: “Why?” An extended note introduces Einstein in greater detail and explains that while many of the story’s specifics are invented, its core, his parents’ fear he might never learn, is true. A reassuring episode for late bloomers, and their parents, too.

No comments: