Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

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

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

Suzanne Slade
Illustrator:  Jennifer Black Reinhardt 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Charlesbridge, 2015   ISBN: 978-1580896672

When Thomas Edison was a boy, the world was a much slower, quieter place than it is today. There were to airplanes in the sky, cars on the roads, or cell phones pinging or ringing. Into this world Thomas Edison came, an energetic little boy who “got into trouble” all the time because he loved to experiment with chemicals and electricity.

Henry Ford was born sixteen years after Thomas arrived in the world and he, like Thomas, got into “a heap of trouble” all the time too. In his case he got into trouble because he liked to take machines apart and he also liked to build new things, often with disastrous results. When he was a young man he became fascinated by the idea of creating a car, one that every day people would be able to afford. He was captivated by engines and the power that was needed to make them work. All too often Henry’s creations did not work in the way Henry hoped they would. In fact Henry’s machines were prone to exploding and breaking down. Even when Henry did manage to make a car that worked it was so expensive to build that it really was not financially viable.

Henry watched at Thomas came up with one incredible and successful invention after another. Thomas managed to record sound, and he make the incandescent light bulb. He was famous and everyone was talking about his inventions. How, Henry wondered, was Thomas able to make his inventions work so well? Why was Thomas’ secret?

In this fact-packed, entertaining, and often amusing book we meet two men whose inventions changed the world. We find out how alike they were in some ways, and how Thomas Edison helped the younger inventor by giving him advice that really helped Henry Ford. Young readers will find out that Thomas Edison’s secret is one that everyone needs to know.

At the back of the book the author provides readers with further information about Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, their inventions, and their special friendship. We also get to read personal notes from the author and illustrator about the journeys that they took, and the discoveries that they made, when they were working on the book.