________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 16. . . .December 18, 2009

cover

What’s the Big Idea?: Inventions that Changed Life on Earth Forever.

Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Steve Attoe.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press/Owlkids books, 2009.
96 pp., pbk. & hc., $19.95 (pbk.), $29.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-61-8 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-897349-60-1 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Inventions-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Wendy Williams.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Bicycles were invented, in part, because of a massive 1815 volcano in Indonesia.

We have six basic needs that have propelled humans to make their greatest discoveries; - communication, illness, fear, hunger, protection, exhaustion. In prehistoric times, most  people went to beddye-bye as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon. About seventy thousand years ago, the first oil lamps began to brighten the family cave……most oil lamps, unfortunately, were smoky, stinky and spooky – their flickers cast weird shadows everywhere.

What’s the Big Idea? is a bright and attractive book which explores the fundamental inventions and discoveries made by mankind from the earliest times to the present. Via easy to read print and brightly coloured cartoons, the greatest inventions that we take for granted are explained, and the impressive people who generated these ideas are introduced. The wheel, the printing press, the light bulb, and the personal computer, are all explained in easy to follow and amusing layouts.

     This book would make a very welcome addition to any school or public library, and, while it will probably appeal mostly to boys, many girls are also going to be attracted to these bright and informative pages. One aspect of this book is, however, surprising and disappointing. Published by Maple Leaf Press, there was no mention of specifically Canadian inventions that could be considered important – including the Zamboni, the ski-doo, the canoe, diabetes treatment, and the Blackberry. Even Alexander Graham Bell’s experiments on Cape Breton Island were omitted.

     However, if we forgive these curious omissions, this book is:

Recommended.

Wendy Williams is a teacher-librarian, and her grade 5 & 6 Book Club are currently enjoying Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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