HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: What Was It Like Thomas Edison?
Author: Lawrence Weinberg
Illustrator: George Ford
Publisher: Children’s Press, republished in 1988
ISBN-13: 978-0516095585 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0516095587 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0681406872 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0681406879 (Paperback)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 7-9
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Weinberg, Lawrence. What Was It Like, Thomas Edison? (published in 1988 by Longmeadow Press, 201 High Ridge Rd., Stamford, CT 06904, a division of Angel Entertainment Inc.). Nearly everyone has heard of Thomas Edison, a true role model for the advance of technology, who, while he did almost no actual scientific work, harnessed it to create or improve many of the modern devices that we use daily. It can be conclusively argued that he more than any other person, made the modern technological world possible. This is a simple biography of Edison written for the elementary school student. The story is told in the first person with the voice of a young boy. It depicts a curious boy who insists on learning, experimenting, and refusing to give up when things are difficult. Edison was the supreme problem solver, who, when faced with a difficulty, pounded away at it, trying everything he could think of until he found something that worked.
We had two of these “What Was It Like?” biographies–this one about Edison, an inspirational figure of dedication, determination, and perseverance, that the human race will always need more of, and What Was It Like, Paul Revere? (1988) also by Weinberg, which follows Paul Revere, the patriot and silversmith in Revolutionary War era Boston, MA, from his Colonial boyhood to the night of April 18, 1775, when he helped to shape the new nation of America by riding before the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts to warn the Minute Men that “The British are coming,” although he actually didn’t get very far before he was stopped by British soldiers so that his companions were the ones to sound the alarm to most people. It, too, is written in the first person as if the subject himself were telling the story. Others listed include Benjamin Franklin, Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, and George Washington.