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The Day Glo Brothers

November 15, 2010
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When Pickle picked out the book The Day Glo Brothers by Chris Barton from our local library, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Happily, it has led us down several fun and interesting learning avenues.


1) We read the book

The Day Glo Brothers:The True Story of Joe and Bob Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand New Colors tells the tale of how the brothers invented fluorescent colors (like the bright orange and green from the cover), called Day-Glo for their ability to appear to glow in the day time rather than just under blacklight.

One brother was interested in science and the other was interested in magic and entertainment. A series of life circumstances led them to work together to build a business that eventually led to the discovery and production of Day-Glo fluorescents that today help do everything from advertising to saving lives.

It’s an easy read and the pictures by Tony Persiani are great.

Learn more about how Day Glo colors work here.

An activity guide from the publisher is here.


2) Pop Art

We explored a little Andy Warhol pop art (think Marilyn Monroe in repeat) in our The Art Book for Children. For a little project, I took his picture and turned it into a sketch using Adobe Photoshop (but you can do it in Picnik, too). If you use Picnik–choose the Infared or Pencil Sketch effect.

Then I created a page with 6 copies of the same picture a la Warhol.

I brought out my brightest colored Prismacolor pencils and we started to create. If you have read any of my other posts, you know that my son is not a big fan of creating things that are supposed to look a certain way. The first day we only made it through about 1 and a half of the images.  Fun was still to be had . . .


3) Enter the blacklight

My original purpose for the art was also to see what it would look like under a blacklight. While we used the brightest colors I could find, once we brought it under the blacklight we learned that only those that were true “neon” labelled colors actually fluoresced.

This actually made for quite a neat little experiment. Let your child make a guess before you turn on the light about which colors might glow.

With the new fun of the blacklight and watching the colors glow as they were added to the paper, we eagerly finished the final four pictures.

For more info:

How Stuff Works: How Black Lights Work

Find the Day Glo Brothers on Facebook

The author’s web site
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