Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Listen Up! Alexander Graham Bell's Talking Machine

Listen Up! Alexander Graham Bell's Talking Machine

Monica Kulling
Illustrator:  Richard Walz 
For ages 6 to 8
Random House , 2007   ISBN: 978-0375831157

When he was just a boy living in Scotland Alexander Graham Bell was, like his father, fascinated by sound. He discovered that the sound of his own voice could make piano wires move. Later, when he was a grown man living in Boston, Alexander (or Alec as he was called) began to wonder if sound could travel down a wire as well as shake it. If it could then he wanted to be the person who built a machine which would allow people to talk to one another over long distances.

Because Alec knew what he wanted his machine to do but not how to build it, he hired a young man called Tom Watson to help him. The machine that they built had a sending part and a receiving part which were connected with wires. The parts were placed in separate rooms and the two men tried again and again to make the machine work. Finally, one day, Tom was able to hear Alec speak from the other room through the receiver.

Alec took his invention to the World Fair in Philadelphia and though not many people showed an interest in it at first, when people began to hear what his invention could do, Alec's machine was considered to be "a marvel." They were right. Alec's invention, which he named the telephone, ended up having a profound effect on the world.

As they read this beginner reader title, children will discover how the telephone came to be invented. They will find out that Alexander Graham Bell used the principals of science to create his machine. In addition they will learn that some people were afraid to use the new invention at first, but soon enough they lost their suspicions of the telephone and grew to depend on it.

With lots of illustrations and a text which perfectly suits the younger reader, this book serves as an excellent introduction to the life and achievements of Alexander Graham Bell.