What did you like about the book? Many people might not know the name John Logie Baird (I did not) but most of us enjoy one of his inventions — the T.V.! Baird was a Scottish inventor who is recognized as developing the first mechanical television. What I really liked about this book is that it begins at the beginning–Baird as a young boy who is very curious about how things work. The story shows that when Baird was young, he was often too ill to go outside and play with his friends. Missing the social interaction, he created a device to talk with them–similar to telephone wires running from one home to another. Other inventions soon followed including better lighting for his home, artificial diamonds, a glass razor that would not rust, and cushions for shoes to provide comfort. As time passed, Baird really wanted to create the first picture screen. He wanted to find a way to project live images into every home. There were some hits and misses, but he did succeed and this led to the television set that we know today.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it showed how not everything turned out perfect for Baird the first time. Even when something did work, there was an aspect that needed to be changed (the foot cushions were comfortable, but they popped easily). Throughout the book there is a repetitive refrain “I Wonder. That didn’t work.” Baird was constantly questioning and trying new inventions until he got things right. I think this is a very important message for young children. There are also little bits of interesting facts throughout the book which are fun to read.
The illustrations provided by Julie Fulton are amazing. They are colorful and have a touch of humor throughout (the expressions of pigeons on a window sill as Baird ponders another invention). I think the illustrations will really help children see all the amazing things Baird invented.
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of four and nine years old–especially if they enjoy learning about famous people. I would definitely recommend this for the early elementary group because it contains such a positive message about trying again until you succeed.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, anyone who works with children between the ages of four and nine years old.
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes