Reviews for Day-Glo Brothers : The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors


Booklist Reviews 2009 June #1
Still in their teens in 1933, brothers Bob and Joe Switzer began experimenting with fluorescent colors and trying to create paints that would glow in the dark. Joe saw the potential for improving his magic show, while Bob, who was recovering from an industrial accident, hoped to make some money to pay his medical bills. After years of experimentation, they succeeded in creating paints that glowed in daylight as well as ultraviolet light. The book concludes with explanations of regular and daylight fluorescence as well as a note on the author's original research for the book. In stylized, digital artwork with a retro feel, Persiani illustrates early scenes of the Switzers' life in black, white, and shades of gray, then gradually introduces colors. The final double-page spreads are ablaze with Day-Glo yellow, green, and orange. Organizing his material well and writing with a sure sense of what will interest children, Barton creates a picture book that celebrates ingenuity and invention. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
Barton chronicles the invention and development of fluorescent paint by a pair of industrious brothers in the 1930s. Persiani's gray wash illustrations progressively give way to Day-Glo hues, first as spot color then decorating entire spreads, to vibrant effect. Barton's appended author's note tells more about the Switzer family and describes how he pieced together their story. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 June #2
The Switzer brothers were complete opposites. Older brother Bob was hardworking and practical, while younger brother Joe was carefree and full of creative, wacky ideas. However, when an unexpected injury forced Bob to spend months recovering in a darkened basement, the two brothers happened upon an illuminating adventure--the discovery of Day-Glo colors. These glowing paints were used to send signals in World War II, help airplanes land safely at night and are now found worldwide in art and advertisements (not to mention the entire decade of 1980s fashion). Through extensive research, including Switzer family interviews and Bob's own handwritten account of events, debut author Barton brings two unknown inventors into the brilliant light they deserve. Persiani, in his picture-book debut as well, first limits the palette to grayscale, then gradually increases the use of color as the brothers' experiments progress. The final pages explode in Day-Glo radiance. Rendered in 1950s-cartoon style, with bold lines and stretched perspectives, these two putty-limbed brothers shine even more brightly than the paints and dyes they created. (author's note, endnotes) (Picture book/biography. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 June #5

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)

[Page 129]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 August

Gr 4-6--Before 1935, fluorescent colors did not exist. Barton discusses how two brothers worked together to create the eye-popping hues. Joe Switzer figured out that using a black light to create a fluorescent glow could spruce up his magic act, so the brothers built an ultraviolet lamp. They began to experiment with various chemicals to make glow-in-the-dark paints. Soon Joe used fluorescent-colored paper costumes in his act and word got around. Through trial and error, the brothers perfected their creation. The story is written in clear language and includes whimsical cartoons. While endpapers are Day-Glo bright, most of the story is illustrated in black, white, gray, and touches of color, culminating in vivid spreads. Discussions on regular fluorescence and daylight fluorescence are appended. This unique book does an excellent job of describing an innovative process.--Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

[Page 118]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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