cover image Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illus. by Beverly Johnson. Little, Brown/Patterson, $14.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-52396-7

Johnson’s wry sketch of the iconic photo of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, accompanied by his observation that “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” opens a lively and astute series launch by frequent collaborators Patterson and Grabenstein. Max Einstein, a homeless 12-year-old genius, knows nothing about her parents, her past, or the origins of her treasured suitcase filled with Albert Einstein memorabilia. The feisty girl’s infatuation with the scientist guides her critical problem-solving (“What would Einstein do?”) after she is kidnapped by thugs working for a greed-driven corporation and subsequently recruited by the rival Change Makers Institute, dedicated to eradicating global warming, poverty, war, and pandemic disease. Eight other whiz kids competing to become the group’s “instrument of change,” a cunning double agent, and the good guys’ surprising benefactor add to the story’s intrigue, which illuminates present-day applications of Einstein’s scientific theories as well as the wisdom of his humanitarian tenets (“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”). Sprinting from Manhattan to Israel to the Congo, the story is an entertaining and thoughtful exploration of perseverance, friendship, creativity, and identity. Ages 9–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]