CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 5 . . . . October 26, 2007
One of the titles in Level 3 - designed for children who are starting to read independently - of the “Kids Can Read” series, this book pays homage to Alexander Graham Bell and his greatest invention, the telephone. The book begins with Aleck’s family background. With his dad a speech teacher and his mother hard of hearing, it is no wonder that young Aleck became interested in experimenting with sound. Following the deaths of his two brothers from tuberculosis, Aleck contracted the disease, and so he and his parents moved to Brantford, ON, where the air was cleaner. As Aleck recuperated, he continued to work on experiments. When he moved to Boston to teach at a school for deaf children, he came into contact with scientists who were also interested in sound. On March 10, 1876, Aleck sent the first telephone message to his friend, Thomas Watson, who was in another room of the house. He presented his invention at a number of Canadian cities so that people could see for themselves the many benefits of having a telephone. Other inventions include an air conditioner, an iceberg finder and a machine that could test people’s hearing. Aleck and his wife had two daughters and spent much of their time at their home on Cape Breton Island. When Bell died in 1922, telephone companies all over North America turned their phones off during the funeral as a tribute and a sign of respect to this brilliant inventor.
Printed in a large, simple font, MacLeod’s text will engage readers and sustain their interest. The author’s use of details of Bell’s personal life, as well her writing style for the target audience, makes Bell’s biography come alive. Mixed media illustrations (likely pen-and-ink and watercolour) provide visual clues for readers to aid their comprehension of the story. There are four brief facts about Bell at the back of the book as well.
Very well-suited to its intended audience, this book has a definite place in school and public libraries.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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