Beulah Has a Hunch!: Inside the Colorful Mind of Master Inventor Beulah Louise Henry

by Katie Mazeika (Author) Katie Mazeika (Illustrator)

Beulah Has a Hunch!: Inside the Colorful Mind of Master Inventor Beulah Louise Henry
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Meet Beulah Louise Henry, a girl with a knack for problem-solving who grew up to be a world-famous inventor, in this captivating picture book biography for fans of Just Like Rube Goldberg and The Girl Who Thought in Pictures.

Growing up in the 1890s, when Beulah Louise Henry spotted a problem, she had to find a solution, turning it around and around in her mind until…aha! She had a hunch—what she called the inventions she came up with to solve the puzzles she saw all around her.

Beulah’s brain worked differently. She had hyperphantasia, which meant she saw things in extreme detail in her mind, as well as synesthesia, which caused words and numbers and even music notes to show up as different colors in her brain. Beulah’s unique way of seeing the world helped her think up vivid solutions to problems—her hunches came to her fully formed with gears whirring and wheels spinning. She invented everything from a new and improved parasol to cuddly stuffed animals and from ice cream makers to factory machinery. Beulah’s inventions improved daily life in lots of ways, earning her the nickname “Lady Edison,” and she became one of the most prolific inventors in American history.
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Kirkus Reviews

"More role model than living person here, but still well worth the attention."

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4--This is the story of Beulah Louise Henry, a contemporary inventor of Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. However, the early 20th century was not accepting of women of scientific interests. This nonfiction picture book gives a general overview of young Henry's growing curiosity about functional objects, such as clocks and gas stoves. How did they work? Henry had hyperphantasia, a condition in which she was able to conjure highly detailed mental imagery. Not only did she envision the detailed mechanical solutions that led to her inventions, she also saw colorful accompaniment to various forms of music and sound. This rare ability enabled Henry to invent, patent, and in some cases, manufacture and sell over 40 inventions during her lifetime. This selection succinctly recognizes a woman in the STEM field during the early 20th century, in an arena otherwise dominated by male figures. The illustrations depict accurate clothing and settings to the era done in vibrant, almost neon colors to breathe life into such old-fashioned depictions. Color choices emphasize Henry's "otherness" in her dull surroundings, and especially highlight depictions of her literally seeing music in the air. VERDICT An excellent introduction to the life of a woman in the sciences during a time when such interests were discouraged.--Jennifer LaBurre

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Katie Mazeika
Katie Mazeika is an author and illustrator with a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design. When she isn't in the studio, she likes to spend time at the theater, in her garden, or getting lost in a good book. She is the author-illustrator of picture book biographies including Annette Feels Free and Beulah Has a Hunch!. She lives in Ohio with her family and two dogs.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Beach Lane Books
Publication date
October 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV000000 - Juvenile Fiction | General
Library of Congress categories
United States
Women inventors
Henry, Beulah Louise

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