The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

Jacqueline Houtman

Eddy Thomas can invent devices to do anything, except solve his bully problem

Science geek Eddy Thomas can invent useful devices to do anything, except solve his bully problem. Eddy Thomas can read a college physics book, but he can’t read the emotions on the faces of his classmates at Drayton Middle School. He can spend hours tinkering with an invention, but he can’t stand more than a few minutes in a noisy crowd, like the crowd at the science fair, which Eddy fails to win. When the local school crossing guard is laid off, Eddy is haunted by thoughts of the potentially disastrous consequences and invents a traffic-calming device, using parts he has scavenged from discarded machines. Eddy also discovers new friends, who appreciate his abilities and respect his unique view of the world. By trusting his real friends, Eddy uses his talents to help others and rethinks his purely mechanical definition of success.

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Recent Reviews

7 Move over, Joey Pigza! Here comes another exceptional spokesman for people with learning disabilities....Because Eddy is such an endearing character who clearly explains his thinking and actions, this book deserves a place on every elementary and middle school shelf. It should be read not only by kids who go to school with an Eddy, but by teachers who teach an Eddy. Because Eddy has allowed us to understand the way he sees the world, readers will have more compassion for people with Asperger's Syndrome. Highly Recommended.

—Library Media Connection

Eddy's sensitive nerves act like antennae, soaking up anxieties that cause him to recoil. The boy has high-functioning Asperger's syndrome and his intolerance of noise, and of other students' inadequate entries, is real—sadly, as real as the people who avoid him…. It's curious to walk with a mind that works differently, where channels are isolated, fraught, and amplified, but readers will get a chance to do just that with this protagonist.

—School Library Journal

A perceptive look at a complicated mind, the novel is steeped in the world of science (binomial nomenclature appears throughout), and the quirky humor and authentic characters should have wide appeal.

—Publishers Weekly

Honors for The Reinvention of Edison Thomas

  • Tofte/Wright Award for Children’s Literature
  • CCBC Choices 2011
  • Read On Wisconsin! Featured December 2010 Middle School Book
  • Cited for outstanding achievement in children’s literature by the Wisconsin Library Association
  • Kansas State Reading Circle 2011
  • Charlotte Award (NYSRA) Suggested Reading List 2012 Intermediate
  • Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award Reading List 2012-21013 (Arkansas)
  • Garden State Children’s Book Award Reading List 2013 (New Jersey)
  • New York State Reading Association —Suggested Reading List 2011-20-12