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What's the Matter with Albert?: A Story of Albert Einstein Paperback – August 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897066155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897066157
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-4-The year is 1954, clumsily signaled by a calendar on the wall in the first spread of this fictionalized interview-biography. Cub reporter Billy has to interview Albert Einstein for his school newspaper; his editor, Jane, is insistent. Billy and Jane are merely cardboard characters on which to hang an abbreviated and uninspired account of the scientist's early years as a temperamental slow starter who talks late and is dreamy in class (that's what's the matter with Albert). His later accomplishments are fleshed out in a pseudo-report that Billy researches because "I couldn't interview Dr. Einstein again. He was sick and couldn't have visitors." The essential facts are here, padded with fictionalized dialogue between Einstein and Billy, but this is not a very engaging look at a truly engaging man. The author claims that the words she has put in Einstein's mouth were "written with [his] wise, funny personality and spirit in mind," but they are not in evidence in this pedestrian narrative.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public School.-- wise, funny personality and spirit in mind," but they are not in evidence in this pedestrian narrative.
Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. In the framework story, the year is 1954 and rookie reporter Billy has received an assignment for the Princeton Elementary School News: interview "Albert Einstein, the smartest man in the world." Intimidated, but determined, Billy gets his interview, in which Einstein kindly tells him about his life. The scientist is candid in discussing his unpromising childhood and youth and convincing in relating how he came to love mathematics. To finish the article, Billy follows up with a couple of pages of information about Einstein's life and accomplishments. Though the story-within-a-story sounds cumbersome, it works very well. In a note, Wishinsky points out what part of the text is Einstein's own words, the parts that are based on biographical facts, and the fictionalization. The presentation ends with a two-page chronology. Large, colorful paintings dramatize the story and clearly convey the different periods and settings. An unusual, but worthwhile, introduction to Einstein's life. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Norene Gilletz on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I loved "What's the Matter with Albert?" I bought it as a gift for my 7 year old granddaughter Lauren, who loves to read. Before giving any book to her, I always make sure to read it first, so we can have phone discussions about it. (I am a long-distance grandma and she lives 3000 miles away.) This book was an excellent choice because of the lessons it will teach her.
I loved the way Billy found the courage to face his fears and conquer the challenge of interviewing a genius like Albert Einstein. I liked that it shows that it's okay to daydream, to think about life in a different way than the people around us think, and that if you face your fears, you can accomplish many things in life. There will always be people who feel that because someone thinks "outside of the box" or appears absent-minded, something is wrong with us.
I loved the childlike style of Billy's four questions and that the answers were actually in Einstein's own words. And I thought it was a good lesson to show that Billy was able to do further research and write another story on his own once Albert Einstein 'opened the door' to Billy's quest for knowledge.
This story will teach my granddaughter that our imagination is what makes us unique, that once you take the first step and just do your very best, you can accomplish great things, in spite of your fears.
On a personal level, I think I related to this story because as a child, I always felt "different" and didn't look at things in the same way as other kids did. I was a daydreamer, couldn't concentrate in school and often got into trouble because my mind wandered.
I wish I had been able to read this book when I was young - I'm sure it would have made me feel that it was okay to look at things differently, to ask questions, to always be curious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Siamon on December 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In her wonderful new book, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH ALBERT? A STORY OF ALBERT EINSTEIN, author Frieda Wishinsky brings the Nobel Prize-winning scientist to life for young readers.
Billy, a shy young reporter for the school newspaper goes to interview Einstein to find out what he was like as a child. To his surprise, the great genius had lots of problems when he was a boy. Any child who has ever felt shy, inadequate or less than a star will relate to the young Einstein, who was late to talk, not a star in school, and subject to bursts of bad temper.
Wishinsky's style invites the reader to explore Einstein's world in a variety of interesting ways. These include the text of his final report on Einstein "When he Grew Up," a timeline of the important dates in his life and an excerpt from Billy's notebook, with answers in Einstein's actual words. For example, to the question "Why don't you wear socks?'", Einstein asnwers "When I was young I found out that the big toe always ends up making a hole in the sock. So I stopped wearing socks."
Children will find the man and the story irresistable. Told in clear, engaging prose and dialogue, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH ALBERT EINSTEIN? will delight all young readers. Jaques Lamontagne's illustrations of Einstein at different periods of his life will round out the familiar image of the frizzy-haired genius.
Frieda Wishinsky has added to the long list of books about Albert Einstein one that truly makes him accessible, and that will be treasured by children of all ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
What a great book! The title and the Norman Rockwell like illustration of Eistein immediately caught my attention. What's The Matter With Albert? Who would have thought that this famous scientist, this amazing genious of the 20th century would have anything the matter with him. I loved the way the author tells us about all the struggles and difficulties the young Albert Einstein had as a student. I always figured the guy sailed through school, and that he likely graduated by age 12 and was then courted by major universities around the world. But no, Albert was asked to leave his school!
I thought this book shared some fascinating facts about Einstein's life in a cute and unintimidating way - a fictional character's (a cub reporter with the Princeton Elementary School News) interview with Albert Einstein. At the end of the interview the young reporter asks Albert four more questions. My favorite, and I hope the author doesn't mind me sharing this one, is "What makes you think up all those great ideas?" I loved Einstein's answer - "I use my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world". There are several great quotes from Einstein in the book.
I bought this book for two of my 8 year old nephews. I hope they will have as much fun reading it as I did and will be encouraged to let their imaginations fly and take them to all sorts of interesting thoughts and places.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Braithwaite on January 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This innovative biography explores Albert Einstein's life and his ideas. As a teacher-librarian, I use this book to inspire my students to use interviewing skills when conducting research. What's the Matter with Albert? should be in every library.
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