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The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Eddy Thomas can read a college physics book, but he can't read the emotions on the faces of his classmates at Drayton Middle School. He can spend hours tinkering with an invention, but he can't stand more than a few minutes in a noisy crowd, like the crowd at the science fair, which Eddy fails to win. When the local school crossing guard is laid off, Eddy is haunted by tho ...more
Library Binding, 192 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by Front Street
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Sarah BT
Jun 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Although it's never mentioned in the book, I would guess that Eddy would be a student who is somewhere along the autism spectrum. He has difficulties deciphering social clues, he doesn't like loud noises or crowds, and he is very smart when it comes to science and know lots of random facts in various scientific subjects. I thought Ms. Houtman did a great job making the reader understand what it was like for Eddy-why he didn't like crowds, how some things were more difficult to process.

There is
Emily Dybdahl
Sep 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-literature
I liked this book because it was narrated by a boy with a unique perspective. Though the book doesn't say that the main character has autism, Edison Thomas shows many signs of being on the spectrum, and the story in this book shows some of the social cues and interactions that he struggles with. Edison Thomas also has a keen memory for all sorts of random facts, especially dealing with numbers and with biology and botany, and other branches of science. Edison is a kind-hearted person who is pass ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Nov 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jacqueline Houtman's debut novel is about Edison "Eddy" Thomas, a middle school student, who loves to tinker with inventions but struggles to understand innuendos of those around him. The story opens with Eddy, as he prefers to be called, at his school's science fair. Quickly, the reader learns that Eddy is not your typical middle schooler. He knows the scientific names of what seems like everything as well as recites the elements on the periodic table to calm himself. Each chapter also contains ...more
Angie Fehl
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Middle grader Eddy Thomas is a science geek and inventor. He likes to dumpster dive for spare parts to make these inventions. His favorite band is They Might Be Giants because their lyrics incorporate actual science. He doesn't like people touching him and he hates loud noises. He recites the Periodic Table of Elements whenever he feels himself getting scared or anxious about anything. Some might call the kid "quirky". His uniqueness ends up making him a target for a lot of bullying. Surprisingl ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am giving away an ARC copy and featuring this book all week long on my blog:

My Thoughts:

I’m going to start this out by saying that The Reinvention of Edison Thomas (we’ll call it EDDY) is not a book I would typically pick up of my own accord. However, I am pleased to be able to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
EDDY is all about the characters. Jacqueline signed my copy with the quote “not all great minds think alike” and that really resonates throughout
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Eddy is a kid with autism who is super-smart, but has trouble understanding other people. It makes it hard for him to make friends. At first Eddy didn’t want to be associated with the name Thomas Edison (Eddy’s name is Edison Thomas) but after doing a school research project on Edison, Eddy figures out they have a lot in common. Eddy is a genius and can invent all sorts of things from scraps of machines he finds. Eddy enters the school science fair and is sure he will win, but he comes in third. ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Usually, I don't read book with boy main characters because they are rather boring, but this book is one of many that have started to change my mind. I loved that there was an actual purpose to this story, as apposed to some nail-polish fluff you might find in other middle grade fiction these days. I really, really, REALLY liked the science aspect, I was able to learn so much! (24 chicken eggs=1 ostrich egg?!?!?!) One of the great things about this book is how Ms. Houtman makes science really f ...more
Carol Baldwin
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Edison Thomas is a boy genius with a problem. Here is the opening:

"Eddy sat on the steps outside Drayton Middle School, where the noise from the science fair in the gym still roared in his head. Tiffany always told him to picture a calm place when he felt stressed....

Tiffany's strategy wasn't working; his heart was still beating too fast. His body would have to be under control for him to go back into that gym full of people...

New calming strategy: think about the science fair project."

The aut
Sandra Stiles
Jul 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
When Eddy doesn't win the science fair he is astounded. How could he not have won? Eddy suffers from autism and to some he seems very strange. He has trouble in crowds and with loud noises. He is socially out of touch. What I mean is when the school bully picks on him he doesn't understand he is being picked on. With a head full of scientific facts he tends to ignore those who are interested in the things he is interested in and trying to be a true friend. It takes one persistent person to show ...more
Cristina Rodriguez
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A middle school boy who seems to be suffering from a disorder on the Autism Spectrum, perhaps Asperger’s Syndrome, narrates this colorful chapter book. The story begins when Eddy is at his school science fair and is overwhelmed by the mass amounts of noise in the gymnasium. The story goes through Eddy’s calming methods, and engages readers in the mindset of children struggling with Asperger’s. Eddy is a likeable character who is picked on and bullied more now that he and his peers are in middle ...more
Cathe Olson
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
There seems to be a trend of books written from the point of view of autistic boys. This one is about an autistic middle-school boy, Edison, who is really into inventing gadgets. As smart as he is about mechanics, he has no social skills and has trouble reading emotions on other's faces. He is clueless that the school bully has targeted him, but thinks the boy is actually being friendly. Edison falls for his pranks until a brainy geek befriends him and sets him straight about the bully. Despite ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
My Review

I loved this book! I thought the whole storyline, plot and concept of The Reinvention of Edison Thomas was genius! I couldn't put this book down. I kept getting in trouble because I wouldn't do my chores. My mom had to take away the book.
Tiffany was definitely my favorite character! I loved how she helped out Eddy with any problems he had. They just had a great friendship! I also really liked Justin, he had a sense of humor, and he knew how to survive school. I really didn't like how Mi
May 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Definitely a cute book. I read most of the book while waiting for my laundry at a laundromat, and it was the perfect thing to get me through through. The protagonist, Edison Thomas, is a delightful boy who sees the world a little differently. He must navigate the middle school world to separate friends from enemies, stay out of trouble at school, and ultimately, he hopes win a science fair. There are great little pieces of trivia nestled throughout the book that I found fascinating as well. Did ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autism, family
Before Rules, Mockingbird, Anything But Typical and other recent books featuring characters with autism were published, this would have been a must-purchase for most school libraries. As it is, it 19s not essential but stands up well. Told from the autistic character 19s point of view, Reinvention does an excellent job of helping us to see the world through different eyes. The details of how Edison interprets the actions of those around us are interesting and insightful and keep the reader movin ...more
Eddy Thomas is brilliant at science. He loves taking things apart and collects junk for his workshop. He memorizes Morse Code and the Periodic Table. He is completely hopeless at relating to other people, however. The author never explicitly says so, but readers will learn that Eddy has an autism spectrum disorder. I thought Eddy was likeable and his interactions with other people were believable based on my experiences with autistic students. The story veered toward the predictable at times, bu ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, gifted
I grabbed some MG books at the library the other day and this was one of them. I thought it might be a good one for my son to read. And it is; I think he'll really enjoy it.
While it was never said explicitly, this was a book about Asperger's, told from the point of view of the boy who had it. A stunning read, and one I think a lot of MG kids should pick up. I don't want to get into a great deal of detail, as I'm planning a blog post around this book, but it was a delight to read, and had me in
Sandy Brehl
Without ever directly identifying/labeling the differences that make Eddy's social interactions and perceptions challenging, that account for his meltdowns and misinterpretations, it is clear that he has benefitted from professional coaching and family support. His science-y interests, bordering on obsessions, are intriguing and reveal his intelligence and creativity. Eddy's concern for his few friends and recognition of possible dangers set the stage for him to interact more with age-level peer ...more
Samuel Perlman
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although not a classic or a famous fantasy novel, The Reinvention of Edison Thomas is a fun, easy-reading book about a kid named Edison Thomas. At his school, he enters the science fair, but he comes in third place. However, both the first and second place finishers can not attend the next round, so Edison makes it instead. However, his project is partially broken, so he and his newly made friends fix it together, even adding renovations to make it better than before. Edison not only makes the s ...more
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I absolutely adored this book. Edison Thomas is a middle schooler who is an inventor. He is autistic, so he doesn't understand the social cues of some of his peers, but he is absolutely brilliant. Houtman includes a lot of great scientific creativity behind his inventions, and she intersperses random facts throughout the novel to pique the reader's interest. This would be a great book for middle school teachers to use in the classroom.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is unusual in not being plot-driven. It relays a few weeks in the life of Eddy Thomas, a boy with Asperger's Syndrome. Full of interesting science facts it gives a fascinating insight into the mind of a young person with this Syndrome and the challenges he faces on a day-to-day basis. I loved it for those reasons.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, realistic, boys
A really cool book about a boy who has a hard time socially--possibly aspergers--but is very smart and loves science and inventing. finally, he meets some friends who appreciate is view and help support him.
Christine Turner
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Middle school student Eddy Thomas loves science and inventing, but has trouble with people. Finally he meets some friends who appreciate his abilities and respect his unique view of the world. With their help can he rethink his definition of success?

Looks tween friendly.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't sail through this book but I did enjoy the perspective it gave me on how some Aspies deal with their view of the world. I'm not sure many neurotypical kids would want to read this book without some guidance.
Judith Graves
Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: class-of-2k10
A fantastic book for anyone working with, parents/friends of, or someone with aspergers' or related disorders. Loved Eddy's world.
Highly enjoyable! Eddy's character is so well drawn. I also was tickled by references to places I know well.
Cindy Dobrez
Feb 13, 2010 rated it liked it
For professional review
Will be reading this soon.
Kate Hastings
May 09, 2010 marked it as to-read
RL 780
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great book for students and teachers. The experiences of a brilliant boy who is autistic and is manoeuvering his way through middle school.
Erin Bow
A small gem: understated, realistic, and quite lovely.
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