A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know there is nothing of concern in this fascinating story of the invention of new colors. There is brief discussion of how Day-Glo was used in World War II, but the focus is very positive (guiding planes to landings, sending signals, etc.).
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What's the story?
The Switzer brothers didn’t set out to be inventors. Joe wanted to be a magician and Bob dreamed of being a doctor. But a debilitating accident, a dose of curiosity, and a streak of creativity led to their development of Day-Glo paint -- bold colors that glow even in daylight. At first, their fluorescent paint only worked in ultraviolet light. It was several more years before they developed Fire Orange -- paint that glowed in both daylight and ultraviolet light. Their invention was quickly put to use for rescue and safety operations in World War II, and it then became part of American life, from artwork to dump trucks to detergent boxes. This biography shows how two very different men together invented a brand new color.
Is it any good?
First-time author Chris Barton blends well-informed biography, history, and science into a delightful story that will delight curious kids, young artists, and budding scientists. Kids will appreciate getting to know the inventors as young boys and giggle at the lighthearted moments -- like the vaguely fluorescent cake their mom accidentally made. Kids who are thirsty for more will appreciate the notes on how fluorescence works. And the author’s note, about how he explored the Switzers’ story, is almost as engaging as the book itself.
Tony Persiani’s illustrations, evoking the ‘50s and ‘60s, open the book in shades of gray and erupt in a riot of glowing color as the Switzers’ creation catches on.
Funky, mid-century-style cartoon illustrations depict a mostly black-and-white world until the Switzers begin to play with fluorescent colors.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different ways Day-Glo colors are used. Where have you seen them used? What would you do with Day-Glo colors?
The Switzers invented new colors that had never been seen before. Can you think of colors you’d want to invent?
Some of the brothers’ biggest breakthroughs occurred accidentally. Have you ever made an accidental discovery?
Joe and Bob had very different approaches to their work. Joe worked at night with a free-association approach; Bob worked during the day and pursued set goals. Which style appeals more to you?
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