Great Illustrated Books

Qwerty Stevens Back in Time: The Edison Mystery

By Dan Gutman

Simon & Schuster, 2001
Pages : 208
Suggested Ages: 8 and Up
ISBN: 9780689841248

Nicknamed "Qwerty" after the six letters on the top left side of a keyboard, 13-year-old Robert Edward Stevens, a computer-loving boy, digs up a mysterious box labeled "Thomas A. Edison" in his West Orange, New Jersey back yard. Inside is an unusual machine which appears to have been buried for more than 120 years. Hooking up the Anywhere Anytime Machine to his computer, Qwerty finds himself summoned back in time, via Morse code, by Edison himself. Interspersed with photos of Edison and his inventions, this entertaining time travel fantasy adventure gives a view of the eccentric inventor as he races to find a perfect filament for his new incandescent electric lamp.

This one's a great read-alone, sure, but also a spiffy classroom read-aloud or Book Club selection to discuss. Readers can learn the Morse Code, talk about the impact of Edison's achievements on their own lives, research some of his 1,093 inventions, and make a list of additional inventions of the past century that have affected their lives. Using their imaginations, prospective inventors can come up with a drawing and description of a useful item that the world still needs. For facts and lots of photos, pair this with Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison by Marie Ferguson Delano. In his second adventure, Qwerty meets up with another iconic inventor in Qwerty Stevens, Stuck in Time with Benjamin Franklin.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Adler, David A. Eaton Stanley & The Mind Control Experiment. Dutton, 1985.

Amato, Mary. The Word Eater. Holiday House, 2000.

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

Gardiner, John Reynolds. Top Secret. Little, Brown, 1985.

Gutman, Dan. The Get Rich Quick Club. HarperCollins, 2004.

Gutman, Dan. The Homework Machine. Simon & Schuster, 2006.

Gutman, Dan. Honus and Me: A Baseball Card Adventure. HarperCollins, 1998. (And others in the Baseball Card Adventures series.)

Gutman, Dan. The Kid Who Ran for President. Scholastic, 1996.

Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens, Stuck in Time with Benjamin Franklin. Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found. (The Missing: Book 1) Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Hahn, Mary Downing. Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story. Clarion, 1994.

Jones, Charlotte Foltz. Accidents May Happen: Fifty Inventions Discovered by Mistake. Delacorte, 1996.

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

Scieszka, Jon. Knights of the Kitchen Table. Viking, 1991. (And others in the Time Warp Trio series.)

Simon, Seymour. The Wings of Darkness and Other Cases. Morrow, 1998. (And others in the Einstein Anderson, Science Detective series.)

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

Woodruff, Elvira. The Disappearing Bike Shop. Holiday House, 1992.

Woodruff, Elvira. George Washington's Socks. Scholastic, 1991.

Yolen, Jane, and Robert J. Harris. Odysseus in the Serpent Maze. HarperCollins, 2001.

Critics have said

"The story is chock-full of interesting tidbits about Edison's life, opinions, and staff, and provides a good glimpse of life in the 19th century��_ Pass it on to readers who are looking for something good and funny."
School Library Journal