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

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-08 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 20 user ratings

"So, it turns out that the story of how Bob and Joe Switzer came to create fluorescent paints is more interesting than one would imagine. Magic, a car full of ketchup bottles, and a glowing angel food cake all played a part. The process they went through was interesting, but the part I most enjoyed was the list of ways their paints were used, from golf balls, movie posters, goalposts and hula hoops to panels, buoys, vests, and other items that helped the Allies win World War II.

The illustrations have a terrific 60's cartoon vintage look to them, and with those Day-Glo colors everywhere, there's no way this book will be ignored on library shelves.

Then we have the Author's Note, which is almost as interesting as the book itself. The literary world and historians alike (not to mention anyone who ever had a black-light poster hanging in his room in the 70's) should be grateful to Chris Barton for all the research he did to uncover the Switzers' story. Truly fascinating.

" said.

"This is a 3.5 from me.

With its day-glo colors both on the cover and inside, this is certainly an eye-catching book. Which is the point, of course. It is the story of the brothers who created day-glo paints and dyes. Until I picked up this book, I can't say that it ever occurred to me to wonder how or when these colors were created. But the story is fairly interesting, and full of little anecdotes which intrigue the historian in me (an author's note at the end talks about the process of interviewing family members, so there are certainly tidbits in here that won't show up elsewhere). The back matter includes explanations of fluorescence and "day-glo" and points readers to an animation online further illustrating these concepts.

Without these brothers, my childhood in the 1980s would have been very different. But the illustrations are a little headache-inducing to my adult eyes. Not terrible, but a little hard to look at.

Something a little different for those biography projects. Recommended for grades 3-5.
" said.

"1. Junior Book-Biography

2. Two brothers, with unlike interests, find themselves connecting to create an awesome product. While joining the thoughts that make them different, they made Day-Glo, the colors that glow at night and in the day!

3a. The science aspect of the book

3b. This book is timeless. I like how the book doesn’t feel like a biography when reading. It’s a really good story and many kids will enjoy it. The science in the book has many great ties for the curriculum.

3c. Once Bob was injured in an accident in railroad car, all the science began to take place in the book. They started creating all kinds of colors, and one day, with the help of some hot alcohol and dye, they discovered Day-Glo.

4. I would definitely use this book for a science project. The students can come up with their own new invention that will make a difference in the world. The students will write some details about themselves (likes, dislikes, activities, etc.)The students will be partnered up with the person that differs from them the most.
" said.

""One brother wanted to save lives. The other brother wanted to dazzle crowds. With Day-Glo, they did both." This picture book about the true story of Joe and Bob Switzer and their invention of Day-Glo is a gorgeous riot of bright colors that tells the story just as much as the wonderful narrative. America likes nothing better than a story of scrappy heroes who make something out of nothing, accidental creations that changed a nation in a fantastic and not so-subtle way. These two brothers started on a different path on the road to adulthood and self-discovery, but somehow their divergent roads crossed and they were tenacious in their quest to make strange new paints, with their creative imaginations and intelligence leading the way. This is another one of those stories that recollect a distant time in American history that waxes nostalgic, and demonstrates to readers the can-do attitude of people back in the day. I highly recommend this non-fiction title for grades 2-6, and using it in science classes, as well as students looking for a vibrant biography for a book report." said.

"I love any kind of book that encourages kids to play around and experiment. The Switzer brothers were not scientists or inventors, they simply played around with materials when Joe needed something for his magic act. Science and invention and making can have this aura around them of being difficult and needing tons of education to do it successfully, which isn’t really the case. I think it would be easy for a kid to find inspiration in what they did and how they did it. It took years of tinkering around and a few serendipitous moments that led to the Day-Glo colors. The story itself is interesting, but is a little spare on details beyond how they created their colors simply because of the age it is written for. The author’s note at the end, that tells how Barton pieced their story together, is really interesting and I think speaks to the importance of primary sources (written and verbal).

I also liked that the illustrations begin in monochromatic whites, blacks and grays and slowly their vibrant Day-Glo colors begin to creep in. It gives an interesting visual cue to accompany the progress of the brothers work.
" said.

"The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton

So how would you illustrate a book about the two brothers who invented day-glo paint? But of course. And, boy, are day-glo colors effective in the telling of this story and its illustration.

Bob and Joe Switzer never set out to be inventors. Joe wanted to be a magician. Bob wanted to be a doctor. They did not realize their dreams, but a greater future lay ahead of them; they gained fame as the inventors of day-glo paint.

The story of the two brothers is a serendipitous tale of how inventors invent, of how one thing unexpectedly leads to another, of how dreams are realized even when one thinks they have been traveling down the wrong path.

I love how the illustrator used just a bit of day-glo here and there to make a point. Beautiful and fun.

Just a bit:

"After Joe got married in 1938, he and his wife, Elise, moved into a run-down old farmhouse so he would have room for his own laboratory. It wasn't the best place for a young family, as their baby boy liked to chew on chemical-splattered shoes."
" said.

"Such a unique book, telling a story that has not been told before to children. Bob wanted to be a doctor, and Joe wanted to be a magician. How they never reached their goals, but used their talents in an entirely new and satisfying way makes a compelling tale. The Illustrations are reminiscent of 1950's commercial art and are colored with Day-glo colors, just as they should be. What an inspirational book, too: not just a rags-to-riches story, which it is, but one which should inspire enterprising youngsters who just like to fool around making things out of bits and scraps. I can imagine that this book would have many applications in an elementary classroom. Surprisingly, the Lexile level is 990,just the same as _Mortal Engines_ by Philip Reeve, so it will apparently challenge younger children. But it reads like a gripping story. Here's a teaser: "Patricia let Bob "borrow" her shiny satin wedding dress, and that was the last time she saw it in one piece." (p. 26) Not too difficult to read, right?
Friends who like fantasy or books like _Anne of Green Gables_ and _Betsy-Tacy and Tib_ will probably look at the title and not be drawn to read further. But it is way more interesting than you would expect! Give it a try.
" said.

"Like many brothers, the Switzer's wanted different things out of life. Bob wanted to save lives and become a doctor while Joe wanted to stun crowds with magic. In 1933, Bob was involved in an accident at a pickle and ketchup factory. This accident caused seizures and double-vision and damaged memory. He was forced to heal in a basement and he never could become a doctor. His brother Joe was in the basement too, building an ultraviolet lamp and Bob wanted to help. Through man years of experimenting the brother's became successful and well renowned for creating fluorescent colors that glowed without ultraviolet lamps and this became known as "day glo colors" These colors saved lives, added new eye-popping colors to our lives, and won wars. Even though both brothers had different aspirations in the beginning, they both succeeded in their goals.

I would also like to not the illustrious design of this book. The book has black and white pictures throughout the book with highlights of fluorescent colors. At the end of the book you can see how big of an impact these colors have because they are seen more and more on every page. Even though the colors and illustrations are eye catching, I'm unsure of how this picture book biography would work in a story time setting because of the tell instead of show text.
" said.

December 2017 New Book:

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