Module 12: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown

odd-boy-out-300x285Title: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

Author: Don Brown

Illustrator: Don Brown

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Published Date: 2004


Albert Einstein was gifted from the very start. He was more than anyone knew how to handle. He was bored with normal school classes and his teachers thought he was dumb. Little did they know, he was more than they could ever imagine. A genius.

APA Reference:

Brown, D. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.


I can’t believe I didn’t know Einstein was German. Being German, I feel I should have know this. I now have an excuse for being lazy when not wanting to do homework, etc. I bored with these mundane tasks…give me more! Ha! I wish, but I did learn a lot about Einstein!!

Professional Review:

Brown maintains a delicate tension between his accessible presentation (a straightforward text and uncluttered illustrations) and his extraordinary subject (the legendary twentieth-century physicist whose complex ideas revolutionized science and daily life). For someone whose name is synonymous with genius, Albert Einstein’s early years were far from auspicious. Brown carefully and effectively summarizes events, choosing telling details to paint a portrait of an introspective child who struggles in school and whose frustrated teachers wonder if Albert is “dull-witted.” In the somber watercolor and ink illustrations, young Albert’s physical separation from other figures emphasizes his psychological disconnection from the goings on around him (as do his almost-always-closed eyes). Brown introduces Einstein’s famous theories with a light touch, keeping the focus on the boy/young man. The book’s message about different ways of and approaches to learning is clear and will surely be appreciated by the intended audience. An author’s note debunks a few myths surrounding the man and his work, and a short bibliography rounds out this inspired picture-book biography.

Flynn, K. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. Horn Book Magazine, 80(5), 604-605.

Library Use:

There are stereotypes and preconceived notions about certain types of people. Einstein takes a couple of those and shows that it matters more about the person and that stereotype. Just because you don’t do well in school doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. You may not be challenged enough. Learning about past geniuses will make us more accepting of modern day smarty-pants’!


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