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A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison Hardcover – May 3, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 2–4—Focusing on the great inventor's youth, roughly from age eight to mid-20s, this anecdotal picture-book biography is both engaging and accessible. The concise narrative is sprinkled with original quotes and is well suited as a read-aloud. Youngsters will find much to relate to, from Tom's being misunderstood at school—his mother decided to homeschool him—to the science experiments he and a friend performed in the basement. Not surprisingly, there is also much to inspire and admire; Edison was a voracious reader and a hard worker—by age 12 he worked 14 hours a day as a "news butch," selling newspapers, candy, and cigars on the Detroit commuter train. After heroically rescuing the young son of a telegraph operator from an approaching train, he was rewarded with telegraph lessons. When he was 21, he took a job in Boston and found his calling. Despite some early failures as well as losing his hearing, Edison earned 1093 patents in his lifetime but insisted that, "I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun." Brown's signature sketches combine digital imagery and watercolors and reflect the period costume and key moments in Edison's early life. This title is for a younger audience than Michael Dooling's Young Thomas Edison (Holiday House, 2005).—Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Brown's picture-book account of Thomas Edison's childhood begins with a heartening description common to many of history's great minds: he was a poor student. His mother withdrew him from school after a daydreaming incident: ‘Addled,' the teacher said—another way of calling Tom confused or stupid. Of course, he was anything but, and once he gained an appreciation of good books, he took it upon himself to read everything he could get his hands on. His life of invention began in his cellar laboratory and carried over to conducting chemistry experiments during downtime at his job selling papers and cigars on commuter trains. It all really clicked, though, when he started working with the newfangled telegraph. The book ends at the (literally) lightbulb moment when he finds out what the world needs, then decides to go ahead and invent it. Brown's always jaunty scribbly artwork nicely captures the thoughtful boy Edison in this gentle nudge pushing kids to take learning into their own hands and run with it. An author's note fleshes out his career. Grades 1-3. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547194870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547194875
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Brown is the author/illustrator of more than two dozen history books for kids.

He has introduced young readers to the famous, such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Dolly Madison, and the less well known, such as Mary Kingsley, Mary Anning, and Mack Sennett. His books have explored important events such as the Battle of Lexington & Concord, the sinking of the Titanic, and the duel of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr. AMERICA IS UNDER ATTACK sensitively reviewed the tragic events of September 11th.

Don's books have received numerous starred reviews. He has won many awards including a Horn Book Honor and the William Allen White Award. THE GREAT AMERICAN DUSTBOWL has been nominated for the Texas Blue Bonnet Award, the third time one of Don's books has been honored.

DROWNED CITY is Don's latest book. It is a graphic novel history of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. It will be published in August 2015 on the tenth anniversary of the disaster.

Don makes presentations to kids around the country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Don Brown's A WIZARD FROM THE START: THE INCREDIBLE BOYHOOD & AMAZING INVENTIONS OF THOMAS EDISON tells of a boy with a thirst for knowledge and mischief - who turns his energy into skills and knowledge that resulted in dozens of new inventions. Over a thousand patents later, he was having fun inventing all kinds of things - a hobby that led to his fame and career. This biography reads like fiction and offers fine color drawings throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Krishna Mohan on November 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My 6 years old son liked it. It is interesting and one of best books about Edison and his childhood
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Consumer on February 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Edison WAS one of my son's greatest heroes until he read the Author's Note & Bibliography in this book informing readers that Edison electrocuted a circus elephant and other animals. Having a very caring heart for animals, my son is VERY distraught over this finding and NEVER wants to read about or discuss Thomas Edison again.
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