Perfect Picture Book Friday! Timeless Thomas by Gene Barretta

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a nice biography-type nonfiction book about one of my favorite historical inventors.

timelessthomasTimeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives
Written and illustrated by Gene Barretta
36 pages – ages 5+
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 17, 2012

Theme- Not giving up/Biography

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Have you ever thought about inventing something of your own? You’re never too young to try.

Thomas Alva Edison began experimenting when he was just a boy. That’s right. It was the beginning of a life dedicated to improving the world with his brilliant ideas and inventions.

Synopsis from GoodReads: “ 


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 and inject a bit of humor throughout the book. Mr. Barretta has created a nice biography picture book that is instructional, entertaining and inspiring.

Activities and Resources- Talk with your kids/students about how failure can create success. Did you know James Dyson failed over 5000 times before inventing his current version of his vacuum cleaner?!? Here is a cool video from him about failure.

You can virtually visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Click HERE to learn more about Jefferson and Monticello.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Categories: Age 6-9, Perfect Picture Book Friday

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22 replies

  1. Erik, this looks to be a very interesting book, one I know I would enjoy, and my grandson might, too. 🙂
    The message of failure is a good one; without those failures we probably wouldn’t find the successes because we wouldn’t be trying. One more failure means one less thing to try again and one step closer to success.

  2. Erik, I absolutely love this post! I really needed to hear Mr. Dyson’s thoughts on failure. I’m going to recommend this children’s book to my kids’ librarian. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

  3. Always great to hear about other people’s successes and how they also failed but never gave up!

  4. I wish some of my teachers would have been as encouraging of failure! Sounds like a good read!

  5. I’ll be sure to remind Mom of what James Dyson said about failure the next time she’s trying to get me to fetch.

    Love and licks,

  6. Erik, This sounds like a wonderful book. Learning how to persist through failure is a lesson from which we can all learn. Great review!

  7. Nice review, Eric. Failure is our friend. Pretty cool.

  8. This line is so true! I think kids need to hear more about the journey to success. “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.”

  9. What a gem! I love how the story is written!

  10. It’s a pity more people don’t think the same way. I can remember being terrified of failing as a kid!

  11. I was borderline obsessed with Edison when I was young. I like the theme of working one’s way through failure.

  12. This looks FABULOUS, Erik. Just requested it from the library. Thanks!

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