Qwerty Stevens Back in Time: The Edison Mystery by Dan Gutman.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: NY, 2001.

Thomas Edison wrote about wanting to create a machine that would enable communication with the dead. In this story, Qwerty Stevens digs up a machine invented by Edison. He hooks it up to his computer and is transported to Spain accidentally. Later, he sends himself to Edison's laboratory at Edison's request. It is a fun and interesting adventure with consequences, as you would expect.

The author has made an effort to be realistic including actual events, dialogue, and facts from Edison's life. The only thing that bothered me was the persistence of the idea that Edison invented everything for which he held a patent. Edison was a very successful businessman. He was known for buying inventions from others and producing them himself. He also had a huge laboratory with many workers who most likely invented things for which he held patents. As with the lightbulb, inventions were and are collaborative. To say we wouldn't have electricity without Edison is not true. The electrical system which we use was developed by Tesla who lived and created during the same time period. Edison may have been the first to patent a successful filament, but he wasn't the only one working on the idea. Students would be better served discussing how an idea has developed instead of saying it originates from one person. That is rarely the case. Besides it being untrue, the idea of inventions solely coming from one person also inhibits experimentation and creativity, because then young people believe it is beyond their abilities.

related-time travel, transportational device, transportation, inventors, incandescent light

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