From the Publisher
"Jones's titles convey cohesive ideas about the importance of accidental discoveries."School Library Journal
"Readers learn that some dice were loaded in ancient Egypt; that baseball caps evolved from imitations of Civil War military hats; that flyswatters must have holes to be effective; that some inventions might have flopped without a push in the public-relations department. Such stories are well-suited to sharing."Kirkus Reviews
Children's Literature - Melinda M. Sprinkle
Did you know that the Babe Ruth Candy Bar is not, as you may have thought, named after Babe Ruth, the baseball player, but after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth? Other inventions such as Band-Aids, balloons, doughnuts, Twinkies, Velcro, and even wedding rings are fascinating things. But where did they develop, and who invented them? The answers as well as other surprising information are found within this fact-filled book. Although teachers could use this book as a nonfiction time-filler read-aloud, children will find the book somewhat uninteresting due to the lack of illustrations. A table of contents is included.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8This collection includes 114 inventions and the amusing, sometimes amazing stories behind them. Arranged alphabetically from "animal crackers" to "zipper," the inventions range from ancient times (dice have been around for 40,000 years) to recent discoveries such as bar code scanners and Gatorade. Though some major technological advances are included (submarines and robots), most of the inventions are less significant (miniature golf, Tinker Toys, and Fig Newtons). Unfortunately, the format is not particularly exciting. Each invention gets one page, with varying amounts of information. There are two simple sentences about drinking straws opposite a four paragraph treatment of Dr. Pepper. The alphabetical arrangement means that similar inventions are not grouped together. Instead of reading about potato chips and ice cream consecutively, "ice-cream cone" is followed by "jigsaw puzzle." This book suffers in comparison to Charlotte Jones's excellent Mistakes That Worked (Doubleday, 1994) and Accidents May Happen (Delacorte, 1996), both of which feature livelier texts, thematically grouped inventions, and amusing illustrations. Where Wulffson's title serves as a list of interesting inventions, Jones's titles convey cohesive ideas about the importance of accidental discoveries.Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Wulffson (Time Fix, 1994) sketches out the origins of 99 inventions in this entertaining volume of trivia that may launch further research for reports. There is no depth on any topic, nor descriptions of inventors' lives, nor information on how patents are obtained. There are few child inventors included, so the title may mislead; nevertheless, one good example of youthful ingenuity is that of Blaise Pascal, who was 19 when he created a counting machine to assist his father, involved daily in routine calculations. Readers learn that some dice were loaded in ancient Egypt; that baseball caps evolved from imitations of Civil War military hats; that flyswatters must have holes to be effective; that some inventions might have flopped without a push in the public-relations department. Such stories are well-suited to sharing.