NONFICTION

Samuel Morse, That’s Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code

Holt. (That’s Who!: Bk. 2). Jun. 2019. 40p. bibliog. chron. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781627791304.
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Gr 1-2–Who makes a great topic of a picture book biography? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Maurer tells the story of Morse’s invention of the telegraph and Morse code in an engaging, light text. Pencil-line drawings with digital coloring by Ramón convey a strong sense of time and place, and the heavy use of white space makes the layout appealing for young readers. Maurer begins by emphasizing some of Morse’s failed endeavors, including unsuccessful inventions and his passion to become an artist. While Morse enjoyed painting, he was never critically successful; however, in his travels to become a better artist, he discovered the French optical telegraph system, which inspired the telegraph and Morse code. He eventually turned his focus to his invention and the development of a U. S. telegraph line. The simple text provides relevant connections for students in its portrayal of great success spawned from failure and revision of plans and ideas. Endpapers include a time line of Morse’s life, facts about the telegraph, an extensive bibliography, and an author’s note that connects Morse’s code to the modern binary language of computers.
VERDICT This is an excellent biography on a lesser-known figure; add to collections looking for inventors and makers. As it turns out, . . . amuel M - - - r . . . e was a predecessor of the maker movement

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