Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives

Overview

What do record players, batteries, and movie cameras have in common?

All these devices were created by the man known as The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison.

Edison is most famous for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, but at his landmark laboratories in Menlo Park & West Orange, New Jersey, he also developed many other staples of modern technology.  Despite many failures, Edison persevered. And good for that, because it would be...

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Overview

What do record players, batteries, and movie cameras have in common?

All these devices were created by the man known as The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison.

Edison is most famous for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, but at his landmark laboratories in Menlo Park & West Orange, New Jersey, he also developed many other staples of modern technology.  Despite many failures, Edison persevered. And good for that, because it would be very difficult to go through a day without using one of his life-changing inventions. In this enlightening book, Gene Barretta enters the laboratories of one of America’s most important inventors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Following his picture-book biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci, Barretta introduces Thomas Edison to young readers. Edison (1847–1931), portrayed as a twinkly-eyed gentleman, busily develops his inventions in his New Jersey laboratories. In side-by-side scenes, present-day children and adults enjoy modern technologies (a tattoo gun, an MP3 player, a movie), while opposite, their antecedents (the electric pen, the phonograph, the Kinetoscope) are discussed. Barretta’s warm and funny watercolors create an inviting portrait of an influential man: “So every time you turn on a light, think of Thomas Edison and remember everything he gave us.” Endnotes profile Edison’s employees and offer trivia and additional resources. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (July)
From the Publisher
"...useful tool to introduce history and inventions to reluctant readers or students…”—School Library Journal

"An entertaining, enlightening intro." —Booklist

"[This] accessible and informative account [is] a worthy successor to Barretta’s other men-and-ideas books.”—The New York Times

"A glowing tribute to the inventor who continues to influence modern life.”—Kirkus, starred

"Barretta’s warm and funny watercolors create an inviting portrait of an influential man..."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

Winner of the Carolyn W. Field Award, given by the Pennsylvania Library Association

A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year

A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

A Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Book

A CCBC Choice

 

Praise for Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

IRA Teachers’ Choices

“This accessible introduction will inspire children to look closely at the world around them and come up with some creations of their own.” —School Library Journal

 

Praise for Dear Deer

A Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club Selection

An NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts

Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List

 

Praise for Zoola Palooza

“While teachers are sure to reach for this entertaining resource again and again, the humor, illustrations, wordplay and story are strong enough that casual readers will pick this up, chuckle and even (gasp!) learn.” —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Following the same format as Ben & Now, the author's book about Ben Franklin's inventions, this charming and informative book conveys to young readers the timelessness and the timeliness of those by Thomas Edison. It opens, appealingly, with multiple colorful illustrations of a similarly young Edison both observing simple items, such as a plant in a beaker and a ball rolling down a slope, and experimenting with more complex ones, such as a liquid cooking in a test tube. The story then leap frogs to his creation of two Invention Factories in New Jersey and the ideas, discoveries, and products that emerged from them. On facing pages of double-face spreads, each invention shows, on the left-hand side, the use we make of it in the "Present Day" and the initial discovery in "Edison's Lab." For instance, a joyful illustration of two boys (one black, one white) and a dog crooning into microphones and playing electronic instruments on the left side is compared with Edison's tinfoil phonograph on the right. Inserts below explain how Edison's recording device worked. Other such comparisons include the telephone, photocopiers (beginning with Edison's electric pen), batteries, voting machines, X-rays (Edison's fluoroscope), movie cameras and movies (Edison's kinescope), and electric generators. The book concludes, helpfully, with brief biographies of Edison's employees, Thomas Trivia, such as the fact that he had only a few months of formal education, and a short bibliography. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Distinctive cartoon illustrations infused with contemporary warmth and 21st-century humor compare electronic products used by today's youth on one side of the page to inventions developed in Thomas Edison's research labs and patented by him on the other. Boys recording music made with an electric guitar and keyboard are juxtaposed with Edison's tinfoil phonograph. A boy listening to his sound mixer, a girl with a multi CD player, and a girl listening to her iPod are compared to dictation machines and the first talking doll. A boy making photocopies of his face is compared to Edison's electric pen. Modern moviemaking is linked to Edison's Kinetograph, the first movie camera, the Kinetoscope for viewing images, and the Kinetephone for projecting sounds with images. Edison's discovery of radio waves, development of telegraph technology, and a useful light bulb with a community-wide power system are showcased. This will be a useful tool to introduce history and inventions to reluctant readers or students as the book stays tightly focused on Edison's work rather than on his personal life. Those looking for more biographical information about the scientist can try David Adler's A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison (Holiday House, 1996) or Melvin and Gilda Berger's What Makes the Light Bright, Thomas Edison? (Scholastic, 2007).—Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A fine introduction to Thomas Edison's exceptional inventions, innovations and career--and how his work continues to affect our lives today. Young readers who know Edison only as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb will be fascinated by the breadth and scope of his genius as well as the sheer number of electrical devices he brought forth. They will be astonished that it is Edison whom they can thank for the phonograph, movie camera and projector, and improvements on the telegraph and telephone. There seems to have been little the man didn't think of: an early vending machine, a vote recorder for the government (for which he received his first patent), and the first device to make use of X-ray technology. The modern photocopier and even the tattoo needle were based on an Edison creation, the electric pen. Barretta's admiring, clear prose; detailed, child-appealing paintings; and easy-to-understand diagrams cast a focused spotlight on the "Wizard of Menlo Park" and his extraordinary work. In a nice touch, he pays homage to the gifted, dedicated team of scientists, chemists, engineers and inventors with whom Edison worked for years at both of his New Jersey laboratories; short biographical sketches of these important men are included, as is a list of "Thomas Trivia." A glowing tribute to the inventor who continues to influence modern life. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)
The New York Times
Timeless Thomas is…almost entirely devoted to a series of opposing pages showing, on the one side, familiar modern technologies under the heading "Present Day" and, under "Edison's Lab" on the other, how Edison made what he did. Thanks to these adroit renderings, what could seem creaky 100-plus-year-old "Eureka!"s become relevant to young readers accustomed to instantaneous technology upgrades available on their iPhones…Barretta's approach minimizes the clutter, and his overall organization…makes the book especially user-friendly for young readers, to whom the dates won't mean much anyway. The lively illustrations, with spots of humor, help bring the more technical material down to child's-eye level.
—Pamela Paul
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805091083
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 279,929
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 21.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gene Barretta has written and illustrated several award-winning books for young readers, including Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci and Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin, as well as Dear Deer and Zoola Palooza. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Leslie, and their son, Ben. [genebarretta.com]

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Raearoy

    Great book

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