Title: Thomas Edison
Author: Academic Industries
Pages: 53
Recommended Ages: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

I’ve never been one who believed in “dumbing down” a subject for the sake of making it more interesting. I believe that subjects worth teaching and stories worth telling have a natural appeal – sometimes it just takes more effort to uncover that appeal.

Especially prone to sillification are biographies and history for children. Stupid illustrations and goofy texts are somehow thought to make the subject matter more engaging for children. On the other hand, many biographical resources are dull. So where’s the balance?

Thomas Edison, while not perfect, is a noteworthy example of taking an important man’s life, and bringing it into the 3D, so to speak. (Actually, 2D.) Beginning with Edison’s earliest years, and working through his growing interest in science, experiments in factories, and eventual crowning as king of inventions, Thomas Edison reduces the life of Edison to a series of thoughtfully drawn, soberly presented “comic strip” style illustrations.

My favorite aspect of this book was the quiz which was included at the end of it. Designed to test the reader’s memory and observational skills, questions are posed, vocabulary is drilled, and further thought is encouraged.

The closeness of Edison’s relationship with his mother is well depicted.

On the first page, Edison is described as the wizard of Menlo Park.

Conclusion. An interesting though more visually driven portrayal of Edison’s life.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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