Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, September 30, 2019

Samuel Morse, That’s Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer

Samuel Morse, That’s Who! : the Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code
Tracy Nelson Maurer; illustrated by el primo Ramón
Henry Hold and Company. 2019
Grades 3 up

Samuel Morse (1791-1872) was an American inventor who fancied himself a great artist. Not all of his inventions were successful, “success always seemed one step ahead of Samuel.” The idea for the telegraph came in 1829, while visiting Europe to study the Old World masters – da Vinci, Rembrandt, and others.

While in France, Morse saw the famous French optical telegraph system. “Created in 1794 to help military leaders during wartime, the towers relayed nearly ten thousand possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions.” The system had one flaw. It didn’t work when it was foggy or dark.

Morse was convinced he could come up with a better system.

Ramón’s illustrations are great. Created as pencil line drawings, shadowed with soft pencil and charcoal and digitally colored, they are done in blue and brown hues and are very expressive.

Back matter includes a timeline, more facts on Samuel Morse and telegraph history, bibliography, an author’s note.

A perfect read aloud for all ages. To peek interest, explain that Samuel Morse was the inventor of Instant Messaging and created a new language using dots and dashes.

To write this review I borrowed a copy of the book from my public library.

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