The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford

25 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2015. $38.99. ISBN 9781682629710.
K-Gr 4—Jennifer Black Reinhardt's whimsical drawings are given a touch of animation in this adaptation of Suzanne Slade's lighthearted picture book (Charlesbridge, 2015) about Thomas Edison and Henry Ford—gears turn, arms and heads move, cars glide across the landscape. Sound effects illustrate the interests of each inventor, from the fizz of Thomas's electricity to the putt and sputter of Henry's engines. The alternating stories of the two inventors unfold, as the younger man, Henry, becomes envious of Thomas's success and fame with the invention of his electric pen and the phonograph. Henry wonders what the secret of Thomas's success is. Henry's dream is to design a car that has enough room for a family and is light and affordable. When he has the opportunity to meet and speak with Thomas, he travels from his home in Detroit to New York City, where they both attend the same dinner. Thomas takes an interest in the younger inventor and offers his advice to "keep at it." Henry does just that, eventually designing the Model T, a light, fast car with a four-cylinder gas engine and enough room for a family. This entertaining offering encourages perseverance and portrays two important inventors in a lighthearted way, highlighting their foibles as well as their successes.
VERDICT Students looking for biographical information will need additional resources, but for the basics, this is a winning selection.

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