A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Philo Farnsworth was a remarkably talented boy with a curious mind. From an early age he wanted to know what made things work, and he was surrounded by people who fed his sense of wonder. He worked and studied hard until one day while planting potatoes he came up with an idea that led to the invention of the television. A page at the end explains to older readers just why most people have never heard of his name.
Is it any good?
This is just the kind of story that inspires kids. And, though of an earlier time, Philo has the kind of life most kids can relate to. He is a regular kind of kid who wonders about things, goes to school, reads, and has great ideas. He has chores, responsibilities, and dreams, and he succeeds in creating his invention, the first television.
The topic is captivating, and the writing has the informative yet entertaining tone of a master storyteller at work. Without oversimplifying, the narrator imparts the enthusiastic spirit of the boy and passes on a few complicated ideas in an uncomplicated way. The story is meaty enough to hold any reader's interest, and the illustrations are just as inspirational.
The artwork in this book is as intriguing as the story itself. Done in acrylics and colored pencil, and overlaid with digitally created diagrams and images, the illustrations are nostalgic, imaginative, and informative. Readers will enjoy the drawings of old phonographs and radios as well as the softly edged period scenes and the golden highlights that capture the tone of this boy's amazing story.They may also enjoy trying to figure out the scientific and mathematical drawings in the various backgrounds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about all the different TV designs, as well as the phonographs and radios depicted inside the covers and throughout the pages. How have TVs and radios changed? Can you imagine a time without TV and electronics? What do you think that would be like?
What makes the TV work? What is electricity? How did planting potatoes help Philo invent the television?
How does a person come up with a new idea, like Philo did? Why do you think he thought of it and no one else did? Have you ever had a great idea?
What other inventors have you heard of? Were they like Philo in any way?
Families might also talk about patents and why inventors need them. After reading the end paper, parents might talk about why most people don't know that Philo invented the TV.
For kids who love inspirational stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.