CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 18. . . . May 9, 2003
You will need to remove the outer insulation of hook-up wire or snip and pull the quad wire apart to access the four separate 24 gauge wires. You will use these individual wires to build the projects. Quad wire can be purchased at most hardware and electronics stores.
Electric Mischief is part of the "Kids Can Do It" series and includes a variety of battery powered gadgets that will appeal largely to boys ages 8-12. This title contains much more difficult projects than another series title, Funky Junk. The projects included in Electric Mischief are: illuminated fork, airplane bottle, electric dice, lid light, noisemaker, back scratcher, bumper car and robot hand.
The author introduces readers to "Electric Al" in the short Introduction. This is a nice touch as "Al" pops up throughout the book with comments and suggestions. The material section includes information about: batteries, motors, lightbulbs, wire, glue and tools. These materials would be considerably more expensive than the project materials required in Funky Junk. Also, each project requires a battery and a switch. The book includes a section, "Making Battery Connections" which provides the necessary instructions to make a battery pad and a battery pack. The "Making Switches" section provides instructions on making the needed push-button switch, hook switch and slide switch.
Each project includes step-by-step instructions, but, unlike Funky Junk, there is not always an illustration for each instruction. Also, many of the pages are so crowded that it not easy to immediately determine which illustration goes with which step. Unfortunately the "You will need" list provided for each project does not list all the materials first and then the tools as does Funky Junk. It is helpful that there is a special sign indicating the most difficult steps, a reminder to children to ask for adult help. However due to the difficulty of the projects, I would think that most children would need constant supervision and assistance. The last step in each project does tell the reader what to check for if the gadget doesn't work. This helpful advice is sure to result in more satisfactory results.
Overall, Electric Mischief is a recommended purchase for school and public libraries that would like to add craft/experiment titles that may appeal to young male readers. This title would make a good gift for boys who like hands-on projects or electricity experiments. However, some readers may find the projects prohibitively expensive as most feature batteries and/or small motors.
Recommended with reservations.
As the result of another exciting Northern move, Catherine Hoyt is now living and working in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. She is a volunteer at one of the most northern public libraries in Canada.
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