BOOK REVIEW: Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? by Margaret Frith Illustrated by John O'Brien

One day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped a switch that lit up lower Manhattan with incandescent light and changed the way people live ever after.

The electric light bulb was only one of thousands of Edison’s inventions, which include the phonograph and the kinetoscope, an early precursor to the movie camera.

As a boy, observing a robin catch a worm and then take flight, he fed a playmate a mixture of worms and water to see if she could fly! Here’s an accessible, appealing biography with 100 black-and-white illustrations.

I first discovered this series of books at Barnes & Noble while birthday shopping for Munch.  I knew it would be perfect for him and with a sale going on I picked up several of people I knew he admired, because he talked about them all the time.  And a few that I thought we could enjoy together as I wanted to expand his knowledge base and open his eyes to other things from our collective history.  He took to the like Munch to a book, splendidly.  He wants more.  This particular book tells the life of Thomas Edison, not just his accomplishments but his life.  It tells the story of his successes, as well as his failures.  It tells the story of his spirit and his attitude to keep on going.  This is something I want my Minions of Mayhem to embrace.  Failure is giving up not in lack of success.

OK, Munch thinks it's his turn now.  His thoughts... I honestly think it's kind of cool since it has my first name in it.  It's kinda cool to learn about all the things he invented and not just the one thing everyone knows - the light bulb.  It's cool to learn about his childhood and what he did to make money.  It teaches you and tells you about his children and his family.  Tells you of the places he went and the things he did.  Another thing cool is the people that Thomas was with and this book tells a little bit of their story as well (like Henry Ford and George Eastman who made the Kodiak camera). I like that he thought his greatest invention was the phonograph.  

From the adult perspective I like that the illustrations and side bios are integral to the story and help to develop the story for the young reader.  This book takes someone historically famous and makes them approachable and easy to understand.  An interest in science is not born of graphs and formulas but of personal-ability and approachful-ness.  I'm glad I discovered this series for Munch and hope to add to it for him and to the other Minions as well.

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Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?
About Margaret Frith
Margaret Frith is the author of numerous children’s books, including several titles in the Who Was? series, such as Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?, Who Was Louis Braille?, Who Was Franklin Roosevelt? and Who Was Woodrow Wilson? She lives in New York City.

Website | Goodreads

About John O'Brien
John O'Brien, whose illustrations for children have been called inventive, whimsical, witty, wacky, and just plain wonderful, is a prolific, wide-ranging artist.He has contributed to The New Yorker, Cricket, Highlights for Children, The Washington Post, and Omni, and his cartoons appear weekly in the New Jersey section of The New York Times.

John was born in Philadelphia, received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Philadelphia College of Art. When John isn't busy at his drawing board, he plays banjo evenings on a paddlewheel boat at the New Jersey shore. He is also a lieutenant on the North Wildwood Beach Patrol where he has been a lifeguard since 1970, and he recently learned to play the bagpipes. He lives in Delran, New Jersey. 

Website | Goodreads

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