On A Beam of Light

LONGLISTED FOR THE NORTH SOMERSET TEACHERS' BOOK AWARD INFORMATION CATEGORY

Albert did not speak until he was four years old, but the gift of a compass and a daydream about travelling up a beam of light opened up a naturally curious mind. Albert began to ask ‘Why?’ but unlike other children, he never stopped!

The life of Albert Einstein has been distilled into the charming ‘On a Beam of Light’. The mammoth task of choosing what information to include from the 50 books the author read about the scientist before writing this biography has been handled well and what we are given is an accessible and simple picture book that touches on Einstein’s ideas and gifts to science as well as presenting him as a likeable, quirky man who loved ice-cream and hated socks!

The whimsical, caricature style of Radunsky’s illustrations are engaging and support the text well, in particular Einstein’s discovery of the atom which is represented by a ‘dotted’ design and the genius pointing out of the pages emphasising, ‘Even this book is made of atoms!’

After sharing this book with a mixed group of KS2 children, the general consensus of opinion was good; the younger children in Year 3/4 liked hearing the story of someone whose name they instantly recognised as famous, but didn’t really know the reason why. Some older boys in Year 6 found enough in this story to want to do their own research, finding out about Einstein’s escape from Nazi Germany which opened a HUGE important discussion! And some of the little people that turn up at story time because the playground is a difficult place for them, liked enormously how different Albert was and how that was OK. After all, Jennifer Berne dedicates this book ‘To the next Einstein, who is probably a child now’; who is to say that it is not one of them?

On a Beam of Light

A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne. illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Chronicle   ISBN: 978-0811872355