Electrical Wizard

How Nikola Tesla
Lit Up The World

This post joins other
kidlit bloggers on the
Nonfiction Monday Roundup
and also joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

(pub. 9.10.2013)  40 pages

A True Tale with 
A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Elizabeth Rusch
           and Illustrator: Oliver Dominguez
C haracter: NIKOLA TESLA

O verview from the jacket flap: 

"Move over, Thomas Edison! Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla takes center stage in the first-ever picture-book biography of the man responsible for lighting our lives with electricity...

Tesla faced many obstacles along the way, including the great American inventor Thomas Edison, who was a staunch defender of the direct-current electrical system. But Tesla worked tirelessly to proved that AC, not DC, was the wave of the future. He proved it at the Chicago World's Fair and at Niagara Falls - and his proof lives on today in a world transformed by his inventions ..."

T antalizing taste: 

     "The night of Nikola Tesla's birth, lightning zapped, crackled, and flashed overhead. For years after, booming thunder drew the poor Serbian boy to the window of his family's small house. Nikola gazed, mystified, as electrical bolts ricocheted across the sky.
      One evening, when he was three, Nikola stroked his cat, Macak. The cat's fur snapped with tiny sparks. 'What is it?' ...
     'Electricity,' his father explained...
     Enchanted by the sparking halo his hands had conjured, Nikola wondered what other magic he could perform."

and something more: The extensive back matter in Electrical Wizard includes a section called "Tesla vs. Edison: The Rivalry" which not only sets forth the rivalry, but also the harsh treatment Thomas Edison gave to Nikola Tesla. For example, "Though Edison dismissed Tesla's ideas about alternating current, he did hire the young engineer. For a year, Nikola toiled for Edison, often from 10:30 a.m. until five the next morning. Edison said to him, 'I have had many hardworking assistants but you take the cake.'  He promised to pay Tesla $50,000 to improve his direct-current motors. Tesla did, but when he tried to collect his pay, Edison just laughed. 'Tesla, you don't understand our American humor.' Nikola stormed out of Edison's office. The young engineer struggled financially for months, even digging ditches to feed himself."  Later, Edison "strove to squelch" any competition and projects from Tesla. Readers are certainly exposed to a different side of Thomas Edison.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, Tesla's life and inventions are more publicized than ever recently, this looks like a terrific book honoring his impact... Happy reading week!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Yes, it's interesting learning about this inventor. I live in the Land of the Tesla care -- SF Bay area -- so that connection is also intriguing. Thanks for stopping by!

Tara Smith said...

This was a wonderful book, Jeanne - and I loved the illustrations and explanations, too - they really helped me understand a topic I know so little about. His lab has been much in the news in the New York area, they are trying to raise funds to make it a museum, I think. Very cool!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Tara! That's so interesting that a Tesla lab museum may be in the works. Thanks for stopping by!

Rosi said...

Thanks for this nice overview. I haven't seen this book yet, so was glad to know about it.

Mary Hill said...

I need to check out this book. Sounds inspiring. thanks for sharing.

Mary-andering Among the Pages

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Hi Jeanne, your website is such a valuable resource. I will definitely make use of some of your recommended titles if my conference presentation on picture book biographies pushes through. This one sounds like something I MUST add to my list. :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rosi. I think you'll enjoy reading this book.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Mary, Yes, I think kids will find this book inspiring ... don't give up on dreams.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra,

Good luck regarding getting the gig for the picture book biographies talk. You'd be perfect for that talk! Keep me posted.

Thanks for stopping by!