Monday, July 20, 2009

The Day Glo Brothers

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a non-fiction children's book that can be both educational and entertaining. And even then, most of these are typically about animals or nature. Finding one about an everyday household item is even more unusual. Meet the Day-Glo Brothers.

We are all familiar with the eye-popping greens, yellows and oranges that are created with daylight fluorescents. They appear on life jackets, running shoes, traffic cones, hunting vests, sports equipment and more. But have you ever wondered how this process works or how it was created?

Brothers Bob and Joe Switzer couldn't have been more different. Joe had his sights set on becoming a magician while Bob wanted to be a doctor. Bob's dreams were dashed in an accident at work, when he fell and hit his head, causing seizures and double vision. He began to help Joe expplore the possibilities of using fluorescence to jazz up his magic act. The Switzers built an ultraviolet lamp and started to experiment with chemicals to make glow-in-the-dark paints. These paints only showed up under ultraviolet light, but not in ordinary daylight.

Though trial and hard work, the brothers discovered a process to make those same paints glow in ordinary daylight too! Called "Day-Glo" these were in demand during World War II - used to send signals, mark water buoys, and to aid on lifeboats and aircraft carrier crews. After the war, day-glo colors were marketed to the general public and showed up in our everyday life.

Overall, an excellent and educational book in one package. Pair that with the brilliant and colorful illustrations from Tony Persiani and this is a great addition to your bookshelf. The small details make this a fascinating read, which makes a great story for kids of many ages.

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