Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time

NorthSouth. Sept. 2021. 128p. Tr $22. ISBN 9780735844445.
Gr 1-4–From Kuhlmann (Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure) comes the tale of Einstein’s discovery that time is relative, and the small rodent who puts it into his head. What launches a mouse into a headlong chase to discover the meaning of time? That’s right—cheese. A small brown mouse misses the world-class cheese festival, the object of all his anticipation, by one crummy day. Time travel offers the hope of a do-over, but instead he ends up in the patent office where a very young Albert Einstein is working as a clerk. The incredible clockworks and views of the world now and then from the ground-level mouse’s perspective are finely articulated pencil drawings washed in watercolors that range from cozy to epic, at least in the cityscapes. Einstein shows up in both young and old iterations, so iconic that even small children will be able to pick him out. The mouse is inventive, putting together his Jules Verne–inspired time travel machinery, and then coming up with a way to spark Einstein’s help through riddles that quickly take over the man’s days. The book, though heavily illustrated, is a read-aloud, or perhaps to be nudged into the hands of a picture book reader seeking the longer form. Back matter includes a brief bio of Einstein, accessible explanations of his theories, and the significance of his work and theses.
VERDICT Time is relative, size doesn’t matter, and kindred spirits can be located past and present when it comes to determination, wanderlust, curiosity, and big ideas. A charming volume for story hours, or to launch STEM projects in the classroom.

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