The Reinvention of Edison Thomasby Jacqueline Houtman
Eddy Thomas can read a college physics book, but he can't read the emotions on the faces of his classmates at Drayton Middle School. He can spend hours tinkering with an invention, but he can't stand more than a few minutes in a noisy crowd, like the crowd at the science fair, which Eddy fails to win. When the local school crossing guard is laid off, Eddy is
Eddy Thomas can read a college physics book, but he can't read the emotions on the faces of his classmates at Drayton Middle School. He can spend hours tinkering with an invention, but he can't stand more than a few minutes in a noisy crowd, like the crowd at the science fair, which Eddy fails to win. When the local school crossing guard is laid off, Eddy is haunted by thoughts of the potentially disastrous consequences and invents a traffic-calming device, using parts he has scavenged from discarded machines. Eddy also discovers new friends, who appreciate his abilities and respect his unique view of the world. They help Eddy realize that his "friend" Mitch is the person behind the progressively more distressing things that happed to Eddy. By trusting his real friends and accepting their help, Eddy uses his talents to help others and rethinks his purely mechanical definition of success in this Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award winner.
"[A] wry debut. . . . The author has a particularly engaging way of tracking Eddy's thought processes as he struggles to wrest order from a seemingly chaotic world." --Kirkus Reviews
"A perceptive look at a complicated mind. . . . The quirky humor and authentic characters should have wide appeal." --Publishers Weekly
* "Move over, Joey Pigza! Here comes another exceptional spokesman for people with learning disabilities. . . . Because Eddy is such an endearing character who clearly explains his thinking and actions, this book deserves a place on every elementary and mddle school shelf. It should be read not only by kids who go to school with an Eddy, but by teachers who teach an Eddy." --Library Media Connection, starred review
Meet the Author
Jacqueline Houtman holds a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She writes about a variety of biomedical topics, including asthma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. This is her first novel.
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Eddy is a kid with autism who is super-smart, but has trouble understanding other people. It makes it hard for him to make friends. At first Eddy didn’t want to be associated with the name Thomas Edison (Eddy’s name is Edison Thomas) but after doing a school research project on Edison, Eddy figures out they have a lot in common. Eddy is a genius and can invent all sorts of things from scraps of machines he finds. Eddy enters the school science fair and is sure he will win, but he comes in third. After he was disappointed at the science fair, sticky notes with mean messages like “GEEK” and “NERD” appear on his locker. Someone also put a mean sign on his back during the science fair. Eddy is being bullied and he doesn’t know who to call a friend anymore. Justin, who came in 2nd at the science fair tells Eddy that the boy Eddy thinks of as a friend, Mitch, is the one leaving the mean messages and bullying him. Eddy doesn’t know who to trust and if Mitch is the one being a bully, Eddy wonders if he can have friends. One of the reasons I really like this book is that it is told from the POV of a kid with autism. I thought the character of Eddy was very believable and gave me some information of how a person with autism thinks. I like how the book points out that Eddy is super-smart and shows that just because someone has a “learning disability”, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be geniuses. It also shows how Eddy is very kind and a good person with awesome inventing abilities. I am also glad Eddy finds out who his true friends are. I really like the added RAMs (Random Access Memory [Of Edison Thomas]) that are here and there in the book. They are little facts that pop up here and there to show some of the things Eddy is thinking. I learned some interesting stuff from them (like that platypuses are poisonous). I think books like this one are very important for kids to read. **NOTE - I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
I really enjoyed reading The Reinvention of Edison Thomas and only wish that I'd had books like this to read when I was growing up. I thought Eddy was well depicted as a nerdy, socially awkward kid who nevertheless wants to be liked and respected, and I appreciated his random access memory facts; all my life I've wondered if there was a term to describe the smell of rain on soil, and thanks to Eddy I now know that there is: 'petrichor'. The friends Eddy ends up making were believable as well as the lessons Eddy learns, and the ending was thoroughly satisfying without being trite or preachy. This is a book well worth buying and passing on.
I really liked the book. It has a really good lesson of choosing your friends wisely and standing up for yourself. I like how he makes different inventions that help other people, but from scratch, using different pieces every time. I am in middle school and I like to read realistic fiction books so this is a great choice.
I wouldnt reccommend this book to anyone. I am a 7th grader reading this book by force of teacher. I dont blame my teacher but i just cant wait to be done with it. If i could give this book stars in negative i would. Just leave it on the shelf!!!!!!