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The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colorsby Chris Barton
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone's a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets?" Tony Sarg — puppeteer, illustrator and legendary prankster who once declared, "I never worked a day in my life." In brilliant collage illustrations, award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of this puppeteer, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America — the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy's Parade.
"In this debut for both collaborators, Barton takes on the dual persona of popular historian and cool science teacher as he chronicles the Switzer brothers' invention of the first fluorescent paint visible in daylight. The aptly named Day-Glo, he explains, started out as a technological novelty act (Joe, an amateur magician, was looking for ways to make his illusions more exciting), but soon became much more: during WWII, one of its many uses was guiding Allied planes to safe landings on aircraft carriers. The story is one of quintessentially American ingenuity, with its beguiling combination of imaginative heroes ('Bob focused on specific goals, while Joe let his freewheeling mind roam every which way when he tried to solve a problem'), formidable obstacles (including, in Bob's case, a traumatic accident), a dash of serendipity and entrepreneurial zeal. Persiani's exuberantly retro 1960s drawings — splashed with Day-Glo, of course — bring to mind the goofy enthusiasm of vintage educational animation and should have readers eagerly following along as the Switzers turn fluorescence into fame and fortune. Ages 7 — 10. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
They may be colors you want to wear only during hunting season, but day-glo green, yellow and orange have proved useful, even life-saving, ever since the Switzer brothers figured out fluorescence in the 1930s. First-time author Chris Barton clearly and crisply explains how the two young men managed to work together despite the fact that one wanted to be a magician and the other a physician (before... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) suffering a major head injury). Illustrator Tony Persiani presents a lively cartoonish version of the brothers, starting out in a retro black-and-white world and adding bits of day-glo brightness until the brothers inspect a billboard they created. Not only is the roadside sign flaming orange, but Persiani infuses the whole landscape with fluorescent flavors. Readers will learn the difference between regular and daylight fluorescence, how the Switzers' invention helped win World War II (day-glo buoys, for example, marked mine-free zones) and where fluorescent paint shows up in our daily lives, in everything from golf balls and hula hoops to traffic cones. This engaging picture book makes a bright idea stand out even more. Reviewed by Abby McGanney Nolan, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Brothers Joe and Bob Switzer were quite different. Bob was a hard worker and planner who wanted to grow up to be a doctor. Joe dreamed of making his fortune in show business and loved magic tricks and problem-solving. When an accident left Bob recovering in the dark basement, the brothers began experimenting with ultraviolet light and flourescent paints. Togther they stumbled on a formula for colors that glows with an extra-special intensity-Day-Glo colors.
Brothers Joe and Bob Switzer are quite different. Bob is the studious brother who wants to be a doctor, while Joe is a dreamer who loves magic. Together they mix science and imagination and create a whole new kind of color--one that glows. This bright new biography tells the true story of the inventors of Day-Glo colors. Full color.
Chris Barton writes about books for children and young adults on his blog "Bartography." He is the author of SHARK VS. TRAIN, CAN I SEE YOUR ID?, and THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS. Chris lives in Austin, Texas.
About the Author
Like Tony Sarg, Melissa Sweet loved to figure out how to make things move as a child. (At age 6 she even took apart her marionettes to figure out how they worked.) Today she still plays with simple materials and constructions in her brilliant mixed-media collage illustrations, for which she has won a Caldecott Honor and two NYTimes Best Illustrated citations. She has also created many popular paper and baby gifts produced by eeBoo and recognizably Sweet. She and her husband and dogs live in the charming seaport town of Rockport, Maine.
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