CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 4 . . . . October 15, 2004
Rescuing Einstein's Compass is a lovely old-fashioned story about a young boy's encounter with celebrity, an encounter that enriches rather than disappoints. The setting appears to be the 1920's where young Theo is introduced to Albert Einstein by his mother and father. To get to know each other, Theo and Herr Professor Einstein set out on Theo's small sailboat where a compass given to Einstein by his father when he was five years old inspires a discussion of how compasses work. When the compass falls into the water and is rescued by Theo, the young boy enjoys an even closer connection to the man and the forces of nature that are the physicist's objects of study. Theo's small act of heroism and Einstein's quirky carelessness become a special bond between them.
An interesting real life connection between the author and Einstein will be an additional point of interest to young readers. In a note at the end of the story, Shulamith Levey Oppenheim writes that her husband met Einstein as a young boy and that he had indeed been given a compass as a five year old. Other brief anecdotes provide insight into the scientist and his contribution to understanding the relationship between time and space.
The book, itself, has the old fashioned, dreamy quality of the text, with impressionistic watercolor and ink artwork in soft pastel colours. It could be a lovely read-aloud to complement a science curriculum or a bedtime story with its simple plot infused with gentle introductions to physics.
Lori Walker is completing a Master's degree in Children's Literature at UBC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.