Edison's Fantastic Phonograph

(Published by Frances Lincoln)

Edison's Fantastic PhonographCan you imagine life without CDs and videos, without television and radio?

Over 100 years ago, none of those things existed. If you wanted entertainment at home, you had to make it yourself. Then a scientist called Thomas Edison invented a machine that changed the world.


Writing a picture book about Thomas Edison was a challenge. He was so prolific that my first task was to decide which of his many inventions to focus on. For me, the phonograph stood out from all the others. It was a totally new concept - not an improvement on other people's ideas - and it changed the world in a way young children could understand.

The story of the first recording of sound is well documented so that part of my research was easy. But the big breakthrough for me was reading Edison's daughter's own account of the event. Here was exactly what I needed - a real child's involvement with an important scientific breakthrough and a possible explanation of why the first words ever recorded were "Mary had a little lamb". Armed with all that information, I just needed a little imagination to bring the story to life.

This absorbing account is an excellent example of the approach and tells the story of how Edison recorded sound for the very first time.

Books for Keeps


Diana Kimpton has cleverly woven the science together with the storyline involving Dot, the inventor's daughter, and I am sure that this book will appeal to children who may not readily be interested in science.

The School Librarian

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