9780399235931 / 0399235930

So You Want To Be An Inventor?





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About the book:

The creators of the Caldecott Medalist So You Want to Be President? mirror that successful format in this enthusiastic, fact-filled picture-book tribute to predominately American and European inventors. Kids may be inspired to make history themselves when they learn that Benjamin Franklin was concocting new inventions by age 12. Solid advice such as "If you want to be an inventor, find a need and fill it" or "If you want to be an inventor, be a dreamer" precedes sections on people who did just that. Famous innovations such as Eli Whitney's cotton gin share equal billing with ideas that never really took off, like Andrew Jackson Jr.'s adjustable eyeglasses for chickens or Franz Vester's coffin with escape hatch (in case the person inside was still alive.) The brief anecdotes about each inventor and invention don't offer much historical context, but readers will devour fascinating facts on the origins of Velcro (cockleburs on a Swiss engineer's pants) and the story of where the expression "the real McCoy" came from (the train lubricators of Elijah McCoy). Two female inventors--one who was fed up with dishpan hands and invented the first dishwasher, and actress Hedy Lamarr, who helped invent a system for guiding torpedoes by radio signals in World War II--accompany the otherwise male-heavy cast of characters. One-sentence biographical notes in the back list the inventors in alphabetical order and a bibliography concludes the book. David Small's lively, color-washed illustrations steal the show, zeroing in on comical moments in history and creative gleams of discovery to great effect. (Ages 7 and older) --Karin Snelson

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