Great Illustrated Books

A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison

By Don Brown

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 6-9
ISBN: 0547194870

This brief picture book biography, filled with interesting anecdotes and quotes, hits the highlights of Edison's life, experimenting, tinkering, and reading. Growing up in Port Huron, Michigan, Tom was home-schooled by his mother after his teacher called the daydreaming boy "addled." The full-page watercolors pull us right in to each dramatic moment. There's Tom and a pal fooling around with acids and chemicals in the basement, his anxious mother hovering at the top of the stairs. Anticipate the pain as he is about to get his ear boxed by an angry railroad worker after his chemistry experiment in the baggage car caused a fire. Then watch him save a three-year-old boy, snatching him from the path of an oncoming freight train. As a fourteen-year-old boy, working as a railroad "news butch," selling newspapers, candy, and cigars to the commuters in Detroit, the ambitious young man wrote and printed his own newspaper on the train. The inspirational text is easy to read aloud, just enough to make listeners of all ages curious about our most prolific inventor.

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If you love this book, then try:

Brown, Don. Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Brown, Don. One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong. Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Brown, Don. Ruth Law Thrills a Nation. Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

Delano, Marf� Ferguson. Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison. National Geographic, 2002.

Dooling, Michael. Young Thomas Edison. Holiday House, 2005.

Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens Back in Time: The Edison Mystery. Simon & Schuster, 2001.

Moore, Floyd C. I Gave Thomas Edison My Sandwich. Albert Whitman, 1995.

Old, Wendie. To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers. Clarion, 2002.

St. George, Judith. So You Want to Be an Inventor? Philomel, 2002.

Critics have said

"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."
Publishers Weekly
"The concise narrative is sprinkled with original quotes and is well suited as a read-aloud...Brown's signature sketches combine digital imagery and watercolors and reflect the period costume and key moments in Edison's early life."
School Library Journal