The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
by Jacqueline Houtman
189 pages – ages 8+
Hardcover published by Front Street Press on March 1, 2010
Paperback Published by Boyds Mills Press on September 1, 2012
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. After he was disappointed at the science fair, sticky notes with mean messages like “GEEK” and “NERD” appear on his locker. Someone also put a mean sign on his back during the science fair. Eddy is being bullied and he doesn’t know who to call a friend anymore. Justin, who came in 2nd at the science fair tells Eddy that the boy Eddy thinks of as a friend, Mitch, is the one leaving the mean messages and bullying him. Eddy doesn’t know who to trust and if Mitch is the one being a bully, Eddy wonders if he can have friends.
One of the reasons I really like this book is that it is told from the POV of a kid with autism. I thought the character of Eddy was very believable and gave me some information of how a person with autism thinks. I like how the book points out that Eddy is super-smart and shows that just because someone has a “learning disability”, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be geniuses. It also shows how Eddy is very kind and a good person with awesome inventing abilities. I am also glad Eddy finds out who his true friends are. I really like the added RAMs (Random Access Memory [Of Edison Thomas]) that are here and there in the book. They are little facts that pop up here and there to show some of the things Eddy is thinking. I learned some interesting stuff from them (like that platypuses are poisonous). I think books like this one are very important for kids to read.