The Inventor's Secret
written by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
What's his secret? Henry wondered. How did he make such a marvelous machine?
At the age of 12, Henry Ford saw an engine-powered buggy. It was the first time he saw, a vehicle that wasn't powered by a horse. This set Henry on his path for life. He later took a job in a machine shop so he could learn more about engines. As Henry was going through the bumps and bruises that come with chasing a dream, he kept coming back to Thomas Edison and his series of successful inventions that had captivated the nation. The electric light, the phonograph, and many others amazed Henry. He wondered, What's his secret? This led to a meeting in New York City. Henry worked his way in to the dinner where Edison was the guest of honor. After a long time waiting, Henry finally had the attention of the famous inventor. He sketched the engine as Edison peppered him with questions. Finally, the Wizard of Menlo Park slammed his fist on the table and told Ford to Keep at it! This gave Henry Ford the encouragement he needed to continue his quest to build a gas powered car.
One of the joys of nonfiction picture books is learning about historical events that were unknown to you beforehand. Another is being able to use that picture book to teach a life lesson. Keeping at it
sounds like pretty simple advice, but how often do we take it? If you are trying to teach the character trait of determination, I would recommend this book. I think a map where you contrast Thomas Edison and Henry Ford would also be a good activity to tie in with The Inventor's Secret. I appreciate that I now have a resource for teaching primary students about these two famous inventors.