________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 8 . . . . December 10, 1999

cover Electric Gadgets and Gizmos: Battery-powered Buildable Gadgets That Go! (Kids Can Do It Series).

Alan Bartholomew. Illustrated by Lynn Bartholomew.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, l998.
48 pp., pbk., $5.95.
ISBN 1-55074-439-9.

Subject Headings:
Electric apparatus and appliances-Juvenile literature.
Electricity-Experiments-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Jo-Anne Mary Benson.

*** /4

image Children will be delighted with the choice of activities presented in Electric Gadgets and Gizmos. Alan Bartholomew offers a multitude of hands-on projects that will provide hours of involvement as children make gadgets that will amuse themselves as well as allow them to entertain others. Have you ever wondered what you could make out of popsicle sticks, cereal boxes, paper rolls, or aluminum foil? Simple instructions are provided for creating a variety of nifty gadgets using these inexpensive and easily found materials. One can surprise a friend with a gift box that rumbles, or be the only kid on the block with an artistically designed "warning" sign. Those interested in things that move can try their hand at making a remote-controlled boat or a super car. If novelty items are of particular interest, one can choose from windshield wiper glasses, a squirt finger, or a hand fan.
     Several features make this book particularly appealing. The most evident is the fact that the author obviously remembers what it is like to be a child and has designed activities that are quirky and/or intriguing enough to capture the interest of the desired age group. The natural progression from the easiest to the most difficult project gives children a sense of advancement and accomplishment. The instructions are clearly and concisely presented and are generously supported with coloured illustrations that visually describe the concepts being presented. In providing hours of fun, the projects use a simple circle circuit and batteries enabling children to develop a better understanding of basic electricity.
     Some of the activities in Electric Gadgets and Gizmos allow children to create on their own while others require supervision and offer a ideal choice for parent/child interaction. In addition, the simple instructions and inexpensive choice of materials will make the book an excellent choice for teachers wanting to compliment their science curriculum.


Jo-Anne Mary Benson, of Osgoode, ON, is a writer/reviewer for magazines, newspapers, and journals.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364