What's the Matter with Albert?: A Story of Albert Einstein


32 pages
ISBN 1-894379-31-4
DDC j530'.092





Illustrations by Jacques Lamontagne
Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


This soft-cover, large-format book turns a formidable
personality—indeed a legend—into a grandfatherly figure who might
live next door. It does this by means of a child narrator, Billy, a
rather shy elementary-school pupil who has been delegated by the editor
of the student newspaper, The Princeton Elementary School News, to
interview Albert Einstein for the paper. Normally, the elderly Einstein
does not give interviews, but something makes him invite Billy in for
hot chocolate and a talk. Far from having been a star pupil, Einstein
confesses that as a young student he was often scolded by teachers for
daydreaming. He describes his childhood in an old town near the Danube
River, his tantrums when he was scolded by his violin teacher, and his
amazing discovery at the age of five—thanks to the gift of a
compass—that science was fascinating.

As an older student, Einstein was led deeper into science and
mathematics by a visiting university student. Then his schooling in
Switzerland led to his goal of becoming a science teacher.

Frieda Wishinsky gently leads readers down a fascinating trail that’s
charmingly illustrated with art by Jacques Lamontagne. A fictional essay
by Billy covers Einstein’s later life, including his move from Germany
to the United States in the early 1930s. What’s the Matter with
Albert? is a warm and intriguing introduction to a man who became a
scientific legend. Highly recommended.


Wishinsky, Frieda., “What's the Matter with Albert?: A Story of Albert Einstein,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/23635.