Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
So You Want to Be an Inventor?

So You Want to Be an Inventor?

Fall 2002 Picture Books
Ages: All Ages
Author: Judith St. George
Illustrator: David Small
ISBN: 0-399-23593-0
Paperback Price: $16.99
This is just the book for kids who like "to tinker with machines that clink and clank, levers that pull, bells that ring, cogs that grind, switches that turn on and off, wires that vibrate, dials that spin." etc "If you want to be an inventor, find a need and fill it," says author St. George. She then cites the example of Cyrus McCormick who got tired of reaping wheat with a hand scythe on his family's farm, "It took forever." The mechanical reaper he invented in 1831 could harvest in a few hours what three men reaped in a day. The author lists other necessary attributes of an inventor: be a dreamer; keep your eyes open; "be stubborn as a bulldog", don't mind being laughed at. More than three dozen inventors have been well chosen as examples of the various attributes useful to a would-be inventor. The text is highly readable, never talking down to its young readers. It also has its light moments: i.e. Andrew Jackson Jr. invented eyeglasses for chickens so that they wouldn't peck each other's eyes out. David Small's animated ink, watercolor and pastel chalk drawings are in perfect synchronization with St. George's text. Their last collaboration, So You Want to be President? won the Caldecott Medal. This book is just as good.
Selma G. Lanes   ©2002 Parents' Choice

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