A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
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Annotation: From humble beginnings as a farmer's son, selling newspapers on trains and reading through public libraries shelf by shelf, Tom began his inventing career as a boy and became a legend as a man.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #41582
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-547-19487-0 Perma-Bound: 0-605-41260-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-547-19487-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-41260-6
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2010279273
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Brown's picture-book account of Thomas Edison's childhood begins with a heartening description common to many of history's great minds: he was a poor student. His mother withdrew him from school after a daydreaming incident: Addled,' the teacher said other way of calling Tom confused or stupid. Of course, he was anything but, and once he gained an appreciation of good books, he took it upon himself to read everything he could get his hands on. His life of invention began in his cellar laboratory and carried over to conducting chemistry experiments during downtime at his job selling papers and cigars on commuter trains. It all really clicked, though, when he started working with the newfangled telegraph. The book ends at the (literally) lightbulb moment when he finds out what the world needs, then decides to go ahead and invent it. Brown's always jaunty scribbly artwork nicely captures the thoughtful boy Edison in this gentle nudge pushing kids to take learning into their own hands and run with it. An author's note fleshes out his career.
Kirkus Reviews
Thomas Edison's mother yanked him out of school when his teacher called her forever-daydreaming son "addled." Homeschooled from that day on, Tom devoured books and experimented in his chemistry lab until Mrs. Edison worried the family would be blown up. In this narrowly focused biography, readers will learn—despite the book's title—that there was nothing magical about the man who patented 1,093 inventions. Edison was a hard worker who was curious about everything, studied diligently for years and was passionate about inventing, especially marketable objects (such as the phonograph and motion-picture cameras) he knew the world needed. Brown's scratchy pen-and-ink drawings with muted watercolors successfully evoke the 19th-century American setting and reveal the industrious young Tom in action—pulling carrots in Michigan, selling newspapers on the Detroit train, printing his own newspaper, haunting telegraph offices, tinkering and, finally, gazing at his 1879 creation, the electric light bulb. This glimmer of the future inventor in his youth—sprinkled with quotations from Edison himself—may inspire a few daydreamers to get to work. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)
Publishers Weekly
Brown (Teedie: The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt) offers a folksy, episodic picture book biography of Edison%C2%92s early years, highlighting his entrepreneurial spirit and love of experimentation, while incorporating a wealth of fascinating, little-known anecdotes about the accomplished inventor. At 12, the homeschooled boy worked 14-hour days, hawking newspapers and other items to passengers on trains, and one day started a fire while conducting a chemistry experiment in the baggage car. Tawny-hued, loosely rendered illustrations, which Brown created using digital imagery and watercolors, balance portrayals of Edison%C2%92s industrious and mischievous sides. After launching a newspaper business, Edison decided %C2%93it was much more fun hanging around telegraph offices.%C2%94 He quickly honed his skills as a telegraph operator and discovered ways to improve the machinery. Brown%C2%92s description of Edison%C2%92s first patented invention (an electric vote-recording device) exemplifies the author%C2%92s low-key style: %C2%93The machine was a flop. No one wanted it.%C2%94 A sprink-ling of quotations adds Edison%C2%92s own voice to the narrative, which is capped by an author%C2%92s note touching on achievements and controversies of Edison%C2%92s later life. Ages 5%C2%968. (May)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 24 Focusing on the great inventor's youth, roughly from age eight to mid-20s, this anecdotal picture-book biography is both engaging and accessible. The concise narrative is sprinkled with original quotes and is well suited as a read-aloud. Youngsters will find much to relate to, from Tom's being misunderstood at schoolhis mother decided to homeschool himto the science experiments he and a friend performed in the basement. Not surprisingly, there is also much to inspire and admire; Edison was a voracious reader and a hard workerby age 12 he worked 14 hours a day as a "news butch," selling newspapers, candy, and cigars on the Detroit commuter train. After heroically rescuing the young son of a telegraph operator from an approaching train, he was rewarded with telegraph lessons. When he was 21, he took a job in Boston and found his calling. Despite some early failures as well as losing his hearing, Edison earned 1093 patents in his lifetime but insisted that, "I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." Brown's signature sketches combine digital imagery and watercolors and reflect the period costume and key moments in Edison's early life. This title is for a younger audience than Michael Dooling's Young Thomas Edison (Holiday House, 2005). Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,022
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 136519 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.3 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q49480
Lexile: AD940L
Guided Reading Level: Q
Fountas & Pinnell: Q

A wizard from the start, Thomas Edison had a thirst for knowledge, taste for mischief, and hunger for discovery--but his success was made possible by his boundless energy. At age fourteen he coined his personal motto: "The More to do, the more to be done," and then went out and did picking up skills and knowledge at every turn. When learning about things that existed wasn't enough, he dreamed up new inventions to improve the world. From humble beginnings as a farmer's son, selling newspapers on trains and reading through public libraries shelf by shelf, Tom began his inventing career as a boy and became a legend as a man.

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