Writer Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrator El Primo Ramón present a lively picture book biography of Samuel Morse that highlights how he revolutionized modern technology.
Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions—only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who!
This dynamic and substantive biography celebrates an early technology pioneer.
In a frank, upbeat style, Maurer conveys to young digital natives what it meant to communicate via telegraph: "In the early 1800s, nothing traveled long distances fast. So, who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that's who!" Appearing in Ram n's charcoal-lined mixed-media art as a nondescript gentleman in a tailcoat, Morse strives unsuccessfully to become an artist before beginning to tinker with what would become the first electromagnetic telegraph machine. After disastrous attempts to lay cable in New York Harbor, success came in the form of above-ground telegraph lines. While back matter provides a timeline and additional facts relating to the telegraph, readers may still have questions about the technology and Morse Code. Still, the key takeaway, that the most innovative new technologies begin with a spark of imagination, is sound. Ages 4 8.