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INVENTING THE FUTURE by Marfé Ferguson Delano


A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison

By Marfé Ferguson Delano

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7922-6721-4
Publisher: National Geographic

A brief and handsomely designed biography illuminates the high points in the life of the brilliant inventor. Delano (Exploring Caves, not reviewed, etc.) delivers a straightforward and positive account of the man who started tinkering as a small child and quickly learned to combine that tinkering with entrepreneurship. From his start as a tramp telegrapher, Edison quickly moved on to invent his own devices, assembling a sizable crew of devoted fellow tinkerers. The technological features of Edison’s gizmos are cogently explained within the text, and are frequently accompanied by archival photographs of the gizmos themselves. The text is entirely laudatory, playing up its subject’s brilliance, enthusiasm, and doggedness; if there were any warts on Edison’s career, readers will not discover them from this offering. Archival material—in addition to photographs, reproductions of lab sketches and letters appear—punctuates the smooth flow of the text, frequently taking over entirely in the form of full-bleed double-page spreads (which, in a design triumph, never break up paragraphs, let alone sentences). Quotations from Edison’s own writings appear in a font chosen to approximate his own handwriting. Back matter consists of a chronology, a select bibliography that includes works for young people and Web sites, and an index. As a whole, this stands as a solid and very attractive introduction to the life of one of the most influential people of the technological age. (Nonfiction. 10-14)