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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-06 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 20 user ratings

"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.

"I am always on the look-out for books that offer a great story combined with nonfiction. This book definitely has that. Even better, it offers a tangible example of invention that children can relate to and understand. Joe and Bob were not similar brothers. Bob enjoyed working and planning while Joe preferred magic tricks and problem-solving. The two made the perfect inventing pair. After Bob suffered an accident and was limited to living in the family’s basement, Joe joined him there to practice using fluorescence in his magic tricks. The two worked together and created glow-in-the-dark paints. After years of success, they found that with some tweaking they could create paints that glowed even in broad daylight – day-glo colors.

The book is written in a style that is inviting and intelligent. It offers lots of background information on the brothers, understanding that part of the fascination is with the inventors themselves along with their flashy colors. The illustrations work to great effect with their vintage advertising style and effective use of bright colors.

A great biographical nonfiction picture book about an accessible subject, this book will be snatched off of shelves for the cover alone. Add it to bibliographies about inventors and children will be thrilled to have such a youthful title to use for reports. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
" said.

"The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge (2009). 44 p, ISBN: 9781570916731.

Brothers Bob and Joe Switzer invented Day-Glo colors. Bob was practical and wanted to help people as a doctor. Joe was inventive and wanted to dazzle people as a magician. Bob was injured and required recovery in a darkened room, which is how the pair first became interested in ultraviolet technology. They had a small lab in their basement, and discovered fluorescent paint, ink, and fabric, used on posters, billboards, and costumes. Their colors were used during WWII for signaling and safety (helping people), and later expanded to countless other objects like highlighters, hula hoops, and paintings (dazzling people).

The story itself is not different from countless other inventions that require a spark of an idea, a lot of work, and a little luck. However, the illustrations are what make this book remarkable. The story uses Day-Glo colors extremely effectively, starting with grayscale drawings and then adding in touches of color to highlight the important discoveries the brothers made along the way. The colors also get brighter as the book progresses, mimicking the brothers’ continued discovery and refinement. The illustrations themselves have a retro feel to them, and as Publisher’s Weekly points out, “[they] bring to mind the goofy enthusiasm of vintage educational animation.” The author includes a couple of notes explaining the basics of fluorescence and background information on compiling the Switzers’ story for further reading. Though younger children will enjoy the pictures and color, 8-10 year-olds should also appreciate the scientific aspects.
" said.

" Genre: Biographical NonfictionReading Level: Primary (2-3)I loved this book! This was not only informational but it also had a good moral to the story. It was so cool how they set up both of the brothers' relationship. This book reminded me of how how when things do not work out like we plan there is usually a better plan. " said.

" Definitely one for my classroom! The colors pop and the story is actually interesting " said.

" Staff PickHeatherUntil I found this book, I never gave any thought to how "Day-Glo" colors came to be. The story of the Switzer brothers and their glowing invention is truly remarkable. " said.

" Two brothers who made fluorescent paint and then accidentally discovered day-glo colors. " said.

May 2018 New Book:

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