Cover image for The boy who invented TV : the story of Philo Farnsworth
Title:
The boy who invented TV : the story of Philo Farnsworth

Boy who invented Television
Title:
The boy who invented TV : the story of Philo Farnsworth
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Publisher Info:
New York : A.A. Knopf, 2009.
Physical Description:
31 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Pagination may vary.
Abstract:
Plowing a potato field in 1920, a 14-year-old farm boy from Idaho saw in the parallel rows of overturned earth a way to "make pictures fly through the air." This boy was not a magician; he was a scientific genius and just eight years later he made his brainstorm in the potato field a reality by transmitting the world's first television image. This fascinating picture-book biography of Philo Farnsworth covers his early interest in machines and electricity, leading up to how he put it all together in one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The author's afterword discusses the lawsuit Farnsworth waged and won against RCA when his high school science teacher testified that Philo's invention of television was years before RCA's.
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JUV B FARNSWORTH New or Popluar Book Juv Nonfiction
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Summary

Summary

An inspiring true story of a boy genius.

Plowing a potato field in 1920, a 14-year-old farm boy from Idaho saw in the parallel rows of overturned earth a way to "make pictures fly through the air." This boy was not a magician; he was a scientific genius and just eight years later he made his brainstorm in the potato field a reality by transmitting the world's first television image. This fascinating picture-book biography of Philo Farnsworth covers his early interest in machines and electricity, leading up to how he put it all together in one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The author's afterword discusses the lawsuit Farnsworth waged and won against RCA when his high school science teacher testified that Philo's invention of television was years before RCA's.


Author Notes

Kathleen Krull is the author of a number of highly praised picture-book biographies. She lives in San Diego, California.

Greg Couch is the illustrator of Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson and many other picture books. He lives in Nyack, New York.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This entertaining book explores the life of inventor Philo Farnsworth, who discovered how to transmit images electronically, leading to the first television. Farnsworth's early days are spent studying science magazines and dreaming about the applications of electricity. Later, Farnsworth persuades investors to fund his efforts, which, with the assistance of his wife, Pem, result in the first, primitive "electronic television" in 1927 (incidentally, Pem became the first person ever to be televised). Krull's substantial, captivating text is balanced by Couch's warm, mixed-media illustrations. His muted tones suggest the grainy light of early TV screens and bring home the message about curiosity and perseverance. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

When Philo Farnsworth was growing up at the turn of the last century, electricity was hard to come by, but he was intrigued by new inventions like the phonograph. By the time he was 11, there were power lines around the family farm. He was particularly intrigued by what was then just a thought: television. At 14, Philo was plowing a field, and the parallel lines sparked an idea about breaking down images into lines of light, capturing them and transmitting them into electrons that would be resassembled into a complete picture. In an attention-holding narrative, Krull explains how Farnsworth held on to his dream to develop television, and in smart, concise fashion ably explains scientific concepts behind it. It will take reading the afterword, however, to understand how RCA virtually took the patent away from him. Philo usually looks more like a man than a boy in the pictures, but the oversize artwork cleverly incorporates images from Sears, Roebuck catalogs and scientific diagrams to extend the story.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Endpapers featuring a photo collage of generations of televisions from the earliest oval-screened version to modern flat screens set the book's context. Then, readers are asked to imagine life when there was no TV, radio was only for the military, news was hard to come by, and people studied the Sears, Roebuck catalog to make their purchases. Juxtaposing the staid images of farm life with fanciful ones depicting Farnsworth's broadening vision, Couch draws, paints, and digitally enhances the story. To show the boy learning about inventors as he studies the stars, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell appear among the constellations like ancient Greek heroes. While plowing a field, Farnsworth developed the idea for how television could work, inspired by those parallel furrows as a format to transmit an electronic signal. It is the inventor's passion and genius that come through in this picture-book biography that follows him from the three-year-old who drew schematics of train engines, to the teen who automated the clothes washer so he would have more time to read, to the young man who celebrated his invention. Krull's focus is on the boy genius becoming an inventor like his heroes, and only in a note does she mention his struggles with RCA and his bitterness later in life. The facts aren't new, but with Krull building the story and Couch's exceptional images, it's one to inspire young audiences with the vast possibilities that imagination and diligence can accomplish.-Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.