September 10, 2012

Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives by Gene Barretta

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:06 am by suebe2

by Gene Barretta
Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Company
AR 5.5

Thomas Edison.  When you hear his name, what do you think of?  The light bulb, and while he did invent the first incandescent light bulb he invented much, much more than that alone.

Author/illustrator Gene Barretta’s cartoony illustrations pull readers into the world of Thomas Edison.  He does this by first stressing how young Edison was when he started experimenting which lead to his operating the very first research and development lab in the entire world.  In this society that puts so much emphasis on success and achievement, Barretta also emphasizes something else that is vital.  Edison viewed each and every failure as an opportunity to learn.  If nothing else, he learned what wouldn’t work, moving him one step closer to discovering what would.

Barretta moves on the contrast the world of his readers (full of music, recordings, film and electricity) with the world of Edison and his inventive mind that created a tin foil phonograph, batteries and more.  Again, he emphasizes failures (an iron ore processing facility) that led to other successes (an improved cement mixture) as well as inventions that are no longer used (an electric pen) but led to things we see every day (you’ll have to read to find this one out!).

As always, Barretta teaches in a fun, accessible way and young readers will be pulled in as they learn more about the world around them as well as the world of the past.  Hats off to Gene Barretta for making learning so much fun!  To gain a feel for the book, check out the book trailer below.



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