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Timeless Thomas: How T...
Gene Barretta
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Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  218 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
What do record players, batteries, and movie cameras have in common?

All these devices were created by the man known as The Wizard of Menlo Park: Thomas Edison.

Edison is most famous for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, but at his landmark laboratories in Menlo Park & West Orange, New Jersey, he also developed many other staples of modern technology. Despite many fa
ebook, 40 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Henry Holt & Company
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Inhabiting Books
Timeless Thomas: How Edison Changed Our Lives is Gene Barretta's latest release about Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, electric pen, storage battery, and so much more. It has a similar style to Barretta's other two biographical non-fiction picture books: Neo Leo and Now and Ben. It's not so much a biography as it is a record of Edison's technological achievements. On the surface you might not think that a book about an older man's achievements would be very appeali ...more
Catherine Fevery
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story is a great read for children teaching them of the famous man Thomas Edison and his experiments, and how it has affected us now. The story explores the different inventions and experiments Edison has conducted. Such as experimenting with electrical power, how the invention of batteries came about and movies, X-ray, telephone transmitters, light bulbs as well as several other great ideas. If it weren’t for Edison we wouldn’t be any where near as advanced as we are with technology as we are t ...more
This picture book biography of Thomas Edison presents information about his most famous inventions by comparing people of the present day using modern versions with what was developed in Edison's lab. I think the back and forth between the present and the past is a good way to help young readers relate to the inventions and appreciate the hard work that went into bringing them to fruition. This could be a good mentor text for informational writing and a great resource for research.
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rdng-350-books
This is a very valuable book to own! It highlights many of Edisons well known (and some not so well known) inventions. Lots of neat trivia in this book. For instance, Edison introduced "hello" as the official telephone greeting. Alexander Graham Bell wanted to use "ahoy, hoy." Can you imagine?

I loved this book! 5 stars all the way! The book is amazing, and the illustrations were just as amazing!

This book would be great for a science or history class as a read aloud for just about any grade from
This book is an easy way for children to discover the many ways Thomas Edison's inventions influence our lives today. The layout showing present day and Edison's lab is a great way to show this comparison easily and clearly. I recommend this book for classroom libraries, and children who enjoy learning about scientific inventions will love it.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've read Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci and we like his way of teaching children about famous scientists and inventors without being overly detailed and boring. So when we attended a science program at our local library and I saw that this was one of the books that was featured in the back for people to borrow, I just had to add it to our pile of books.

This biography about Thomas Alva Edison is entertaining, inform
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twin Text: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (2014)
A girl and her dog set out to create the most magnificent thing. They don’t quite know what it will be yet, but they know it will be great. After may failures and much frustration their inventions begin to make sense. In Timeless Thomas, Edison shows readers that inventors will encounter a lot of failures. He also mentions that a person is never too young to try inventing something.

Text Structure: The book begins with a chronological a
Ying Lee
Genre: Biography
Copyright: 2012

Cell phones, movies, radios, copy machines, and vending machines that we use and enjoy in our daily lives are from ideas of one of the greatest inventors, Thomas Edison. Most people know that the indispensable incandescent lightbulbs are invented by Thomas Edison, but what people may not know is that Edison improved Alexander Graham Bell's telephone to transmit voices and sound farther and louder. Also, Edison creates the first camera for motion pictures (i.e. Kine
Stefanie Green
1. Today we are going to read about Thomas Edison, the inventor of many modern conveniences we take for granted every day, such as a lightbulb. Once an invention is created, the inventor must apply for a patent to legally own that creation. Do you know how many patents Thomas Edison was awarded in his lifetime? The answer is over 1,000! Let's start reading to see what other aspects of our daily lives have been impacted by his inventions.

2. Provide important background information. Lay groundwork
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Unlike a couple of books of Gene Barretta on the subject of great inventors (“Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci” and “Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin”), I must confess that my knowledge on Thomas Edison is very limited. I have never read a biography of his, unlike I did with historical characters such as Da vinci and Franklin. Therefore, because I haven’t done a fact check prior to writing this down, I do not possess an opinion different than the following ...more
Esther Choi
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
The illustrations and story in this book makes it very enjoyable and engaging to read for children. This book focuses on the life and inventions of Thomas Edison. It introduces him in the beginning and then every page compares our "present day" activities such as photocopying or recording, to "Edison's Lab" to show how it all began from his inventions and ideas. It also gives a good "moral" lesson that whenever he discovered something to work, he also discovered thousands of things that DIDN'T w ...more
Jeffrey Mohr
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mohr-grades-3-5
This is a good read aloud book for 2-3 grade and is a good introduction to Thomas Edison and his many contributions to modern day life. I liked that the story is set up to encourage kids to think about things in their own lives and how they might make them better. It has a good message that even as kid you can start on a journey towards creating inventions that might one day change the world as well as teaching them that failure isn't bad because you can learn a lot from failure. All in all it i ...more
Alexandria Stephens
Timeless Thomas is a picture book about the affect Thomas Edison had on our lives. The story examines all the different inventions Thomas Edison created and how one invention led to another which ultimately provided us with things we use everyday. Thomas Edison is known for inventing the light bulb but he made many other extraordinary things with technology as well. There are numerous biographies on Edison but this one is interesting because it focuses on how we would not be as advances technolo ...more
Sharon Lawler
The subtitle tells it all---"How Edison Changed Our Lives". Highlights several of Edison's first experiments at the Menlo Park NJ Invention Factory and the second lab in West Orange NJ. He surrounded himself with scientists, mechanics, engineers, and artisans, and they eventually filled 3000 notebooks. The writing style, diagrams, and the illustrations offer a basic explanation of Edison's inventions. This book can easily be used in a "Past and Present" unit since each double spread shows the cu ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
What I Thought- I really liked how Mr. Barretta set this book up. Mr. Barretta focuses on things we have in the present day, and how they were inspired by Edison’s inventions. He explains how Edison worked, and how he failed several times. The book shows how through failure, reworking, and ingenuity, Edison succeeded. The message of failure is something I hear a lot about and I think it’s good for kids to hear how many times someone fails before they succeed. The illustrations share information ...more
Jen Williams
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wow-books
Timeless Thomas is a beautifully illustrated account of the many ways Thomas Edison's inventions touch our lives today. Each page showcases technology we use today and how it was made possible because of the experiments that took place in Edison's laboratory. The illustrations, diagrams, timelines, and charts are colorful and easy to understand. This is a great book to use while teaching students about text features. I would read this book as a read aloud in my Hall of Fame elective. Read this b ...more
This picture book biography of Thomas Edison gives a colorful look at what he invented and how it is being used today. The “present day” vs “Edison's lab” layout on facing pages seems slightly backwards to me, though. It feels as if the lab should be first and then showing today's uses for the items. Regardless, it is a very interesting look at the many things that Edison created despite many failures and mistakes. It does not allude to any of his competitors other than a brief nod to Alexander ...more
This book is about the life of Thomas Edison and all of his inventions. Most being created in his landmark laboratories in Menlo Park and West Orange, New Jersey. Items created by Edison include: record players, batteries, X-ray, telephone transmitters, movie cameras, and incandescent light bulbs, which all have become life changing inventions.
This is an informational book on the life of Thomas Edison. It would best be integrated into a science or social studies lesson. This is a picture book so
3.4 stars

The content is really interesting, but the illustrations seem like they could be more polished.

Edison invented a lot of stuff! Interesting tidbit----he proposed to his wife via Morse code, and she replied with Morse code. Interesting tidbit----Edison worked on an early version of the telephone----he is credited with people saying "hello" as they answered a phone----Alexander Graham Bell thought that people should say "ahoy ahoy" when they answered the phone.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This science picture book examines the work of Thomas Edison, comparing conditions in the present with Edison's original invention or discovery that made today's conveniences possible. Most people associate Edison with the electric light bulb, but few can name many of his over 1000 other inventions and patents. Young readers will undoubtedly appreciate the "Wizard of Menlo Park" much more after having shared this engaging work.
Lady Lioness
3.5 stars.

I like this one because it actually highlights the fact that Edison was the Steve Jobs of his era. Like Jobs's, he's the household name everyone knows, but he actually had brilliant people working under him who helped him turn vision into reality. The layout is a little odd, but I think this is a good resource for an elementary school biography project. One note, though, the bibliography included in the additional materials is aimed at older readers.
One thing I really liked about this book is how it showed side-by-side how modern technology was influenced by Edison's inventions. It's kind of cool to see where things like movies and iPods and copy machines originally came from. Plus, it's explained in such a way that kids can understand and might want to know more about Edison (and then from there, I guess they can get into the whole sticky Edison vs. Tesla drama if they want to, but that's neither here nor there).
I learned a lot about Edison and some of his inventions in this book. I recognized early on that there were similarities to "Neo Leo" (and it is the same author/illustrator). Loved the trivia at the end. And really neat that some of his employees were mentioned and included in the illustrations throughout the book. Fun facts and delivered in an easy way--not too dry and able to connect today's reader (and what they use) to what he did then.

2014-2015 Beehive nominee
Adorable picture book about Thomas Edison and his inventions, explaining how we use them today or what they evolved into in modern times. Cartoony cute illustrations, with big-headed characters, which include drawings of his real colleagues/employees and lists who was who. Not a full biography of Edison, and tells the story out of chronological order, by invention, in clear simple text. For youngest readers. Has short bibliography and "Thomas Trivia" (the lab had a pet bear cub for a while!).
Wonderful biography of Thomas Edison and a few of his inventions and how they have changed how we live now. Includes a note about many of the people who worked in his lab (and who are pictured throughout the book) and the contributions they made. This held all three of my children's attention (ages 6, 9, 11).
This picture book is packed with accessible and interesting information about Thomas Edison and is presented in a way that helps children understand the impact of a life that lived over 100 years ago. Good emphasis was placed on Edison's failures and how some of them birthed unexpected successes. The illustration is part of the story and leads the reader on journey through Edison's inventions.
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tl-320
This is a fabulous book for student to learn about Thomas Edison's inventions and contributions to technology. This book illustrates and discusses Edison's inventions and the current invention that exists to replace his. It is a wonderful book to use for research or to simply teach students not to give up.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grade 1-3
Shelves: childrens
The format of this book was interesting, although a bit unusual. It connected present-day technology on the left side of the spread with something Edison had done on the right side of the spread. It felt a little clunky at times, but worked! Writing and illustrations are appropriate for budding inventors.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Thomas Edison and his inventions. Beginning has a brief description of who he is/what he did, and then each spread after shows one of his inventions in his lab compared to "present day." Great illustrations! Back matter includes a list/description of Edison's employees, trivia questions, and a bibliography.
Gail Shipley
Loved the comparisons between everyday items we use now and how Edison had a part in them. Going from the past to present every other page was an excellent formal for this book. I liked that it showed for every invention he had a team effort and that some of his successes came from his failures like his invention of cement. Has information in the back on the men who helped him.
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Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and h ...more
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