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A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
Contributor(s): Brown, Don

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ISBN: 0547194870     ISBN-13: 9780547194875
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Binding Type: School And Library - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: May 2010

Annotation: From his humble boyhood as a farmer's son, selling newspapers on trains, reading through public libraries shelf by shelf, and dreaming of new inventions, Thomas Edison went on to create the light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Inventors; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Electrical engineers; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Inventors; United States; Biography.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Science & Technology
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Historical
Dewey: 621.3092
LCCN: 2010279273
Lexile Measure: 940
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Non Fiction
Physical Information: 10.25" H x 8.25" W x 0.50" (0.80 lbs) 32 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 136519
Reading Level: 5.4   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q49480
Reading Level: 6.3   Interest Level: Grades K-2   Point Value: 2.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):
Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him “a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies.” He lives in New York with his family.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall)
Young Thomas Edison worked hard, mixed chemicals, cultivated curiosity, and read a lot of books. These are the seeds of the inventor's success as presented by Brown in this unfussy picture book biography, illustrated with softly glowing watercolors. Readers will appreciate Brown's depiction of an "incredible boyhood," which here means finding one's passions at a young age and pursuing them with gusto. Bib. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #3)
Young Thomas Edison worked hard, mixed chemicals, cultivated curiosity, and read a lot of books. These are the seeds of the inventor's scientific success as presented by Brown in his latest fluid, unfussy picture book biography (Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa, rev. 9/00; Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein, rev. 9/04). The son of a struggling entrepreneur who built a lookout tower on his property and charged folks twenty-five cents a climb, Edison pitched in early on to augment family finances. Softly glowing watercolors in warm tones show twelve-year-old Edison peddling newspapers and snacks to train riders, then getting his ears boxed for performing flammable chemistry experiments in a baggage car. While readers may wish for more specifics on the generation of the "amazing inventions" -- no direct explanation is given for the creation of the "little globe of sunshine," a.k.a. the electric light bulb -- they will appreciate Brown's depiction of an "incredible boyhood," which here means finding one's passions at a young age and pursuing them with gusto. The book includes an author's note and bibliography, though the numerous quotes from Edison embedded in the text are undocumented. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2010 April #4)

Brown (Teedie: The Story of Young Teddy Roosevelt) offers a folksy, episodic picture book biography of Edison's 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's industrious and mischievous sides. After launching a newspaper business, Edison decided "it was much more fun hanging around telegraph offices." He quickly honed his skills as a telegraph operator and discovered ways to improve the machinery. Brown's description of Edison's first patented invention (an electric vote-recording device) exemplifies the author's low-key style: "The machine was a flop. No one wanted it." A sprink-ling of quotations adds Edison's own voice to the narrative, which is capped by an author's note touching on achievements and controversies of Edison's later life. Ages 5–8. (May)

[Page 107]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2010 April)

Gr 2–4—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 school—his mother decided to homeschool him—to 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 worker—by 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

[Page 144]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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