BOOK NAME: The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Houtman
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas, by Jacqueline Houtman, is the story of a very smart boy named Edison Thomas. Edison, also known as Eddy, hates the name his parents gave him–it makes him sound too much like Thomas Edison. Eddy loves to invent things, and he is confident that he will win the science fair he is competing in. But when he gets 3rd place, he is devastated. Back at school, he suspects that his (former) best friend Mitch is bullying him, and confirms it after a few incidents. You see, Eddy has Asperger’s syndrome, making him very smart but somewhat inept at social interactions. His lack of skill in the social department is what makes him have trouble detecting simple emotions and feelings of others, as well as explaining his lack of friends. Sure, Eddy has a couple of friends, but he has nowhere near as many friends as an average middle-schooler would. One of his friends was the crossing guard at the street leading to the school. After budget cuts, the crossing guard got laid off, and Eddy was concerned about the children crossing the street. Because of his concern and his love for inventing things, Eddy created a machine that would help keep the children safe. Most of the story revolves around this invention and its importance to the storyline.
My favorite part of this novel was Eddy’s personality. People with Asperger’s syndrome have always interested me because of their mental ability, but the way the story was told really let you get inside his head. Eddy doesn’t like loud noises or change. Whenever he gets angry, he says the periodic table of the elements in his head to calm him down, and he refers to all living things by their scientific names in Latin. Sprinkled throughout the book are random facts from Eddy’s brain that give interesting tidbits of information to think about while reading the captivating story. All in all, I recommend this book to kids of all ages, especially those who enjoy math and science.