A book about Einstein for preschoolers? How scary, right? Not at all!
Meet Einstein is a very, very, very introductory look at science from a perspective that is so simple, even grownups can understand it.
For instance, “Scientists study the Earth and the sky. They also study animals, plants, and even our bodies!” That is the entire text on the second spread of the book. Examples are given in a way a small child can understand, “Gravity is the reason why things fall to the ground. When food spills from the table, it always falls down and not up. When you jump high up in the air you always come back down to the ground.” Now how’s that for digestible?
The illustrations, by Viviana Garofali, are cartoon-like, but do not feel overly mass market. The children are depicted with verve and wonderful facial expressions, and plenty of white space allows the saturated colors to pop. The pictures also complement the text while adding humor and a definite childlike sensibility to the book overall.
There is a parent’s guide at the back of the book that offers questions to enhance the text, as well as facts about Albert Einstein’s life and work, and a few more details about gravity and light that use elevated vocabulary words and are too complicated for a child to understand without some help.
But the best part of the entire book is the endpapers. In those pages, we get to learn about all the equipment a good scientist needs, such as “Notebook + pen: so I don't forget what I notice or see,” or “Beakers: pretty glass jars that keep all my liquids (or chemicals) for experiments,” and “Petri Dish: for growing tiny things like bacteria.” These details are so fascinating that I would have loved to have seen them somehow incorporated into the text proper.
And the only downside to the book—one that no one but an editor like me would notice—is that Meet Einstein could have used an editor’s eye. Misspellings such as “ity-bity” (for itty-bitty), missing commas between “very very very far away,” and poorly formatted fact pages in the parent’s guide are just minor annoyances, but could have been easily avoided with a professional proofread before publication.
Regardless of these minor quibbles, Meet Einstein is a perfect introduction to what a scientist is and does. And best of all, it ends on a high note: “And maybe one day you will be a scientist too.”