A glowing tribute to the inventor who continues to influence modern life.

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TIMELESS THOMAS

HOW THOMAS EDISON CHANGED OUR LIVES

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)

Pub Date: July 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9108-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures.

LADIES OF LIBERTY

THE WOMEN WHO SHAPED OUR NATION

Highlighting women writers, educators, and reformers from the 18th and early 19th centuries, Roberts brings a group of women, many not so well-known, into focus and provides a new perspective on the early history of the United States in this picture-book version of her adult book of the same title (2008).

The women include Lucy Terry Prince, a persuasive speaker who created the first poem (an oral piece not written down for over 100 years after its creation) by an African-American; Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint and the founder of Catholic institutions including schools, hospitals, and orphanages; and Rebecca Gratz, a young philanthropist who started many organizations to help the Jewish community in Philadelphia. The author usually uses some quotes from primary-source materials and enlivens her text with descriptive events, such as Meriweather Lewis’ citation of Sacagawea’s “equal fortitude” with the males of the exploration party during a storm, saving many supplies when their boat capsized. The sepia-hued pen-and-ink drawings are inspired by the letters of the era, and the soft watercolor portraits of the women and the paintings that reveal more of their stories are traditional in feeling. In her introduction, the author emphasizes the importance of historical materials, such as letters, organizational records, journals, and books written at the time. Despite this, there is no bibliography or other means of sourcing quoted material.

These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-078005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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This may spark a few imaginations, but its lack of directions and the difficulty level of most of the projects—not to...

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH ONLY ONE SHOE?

REUSE, RECYCLE, REINVENT

Readers learn how to “Reuse, Recycle, Reinvent” what some might call trash into treasures.  

Rhyming poems each introduce a single way to reuse/reinvent something: A toilet becomes a planter, the titular shoe morphs into a birdhouse, a (very large, nonstandard) light bulb houses a fish, and favorite jeans that are holey? They become a new purse. The most creative has to be a table supported by a pitchfork: “If you’re wanting to picnic on uneven ground, / where your table’s unstable or up on a mound, / stop and think! Be creative! The answer’s around.” While cans, wood and wire are both easily found and transformed into musical instruments, not all these projects use such common materials or are as simple to complete: Half of a boat turns into a covered bench, a car becomes a bed, and a grocery cart transforms into a chair. And although it’s neat to see a farmer’s new watering trough (an enormous tire) and a community’s new playground (an old ambulance anchors it), these are not projects that are likely to fire readers up to do similar things. Cartoon spot illustrations share space with photographs of the new inventions, and both are needed to make sense of the poems.

This may spark a few imaginations, but its lack of directions and the difficulty level of most of the projects—not to mention its failure to impart reasons for reducing, reusing and recycling—make this one to skip. (Poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55451-642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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