Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Droll cartoons illustrate the stories behind the invention of such everyday items as Silly Putty, trouser cuffs, popsicles and penicillin. Ages 8-up. (June)
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
"Oops!" became "Aha!" when what went amiss turned into "Brown 'n serve" rolls, Coca-Cola, Post-it Notes, safety glass, Silly Putty, and tea-bags, among other Mistakes That Worked. How these inventions came to be is delightfully related by Charlotte Foltz Jones in a collection of short, short stories easily read alone or aloud during those just-before-the-bell-rings, in-between-subjects, or any other minute-or-two change-of-pace times.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Too often children think that inventions come magically and immediately. This book helps dispel that myth. The author tells the story behind inventions as varied as Silly Putty and ice cream cones. She shows how serendipity, accident and challenge play big parts in the scientific process. All forty inventions have kid-appeal and the stories are told with animated playfulness.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-- For those readers who feel as though they've yet to accomplish anything in life, these discoveries will come as a great relief. None of the inventions described in these pages were planned; in fact, some of the inventors had no idea they'd stumbled on something useful until years later, when their works became popular. Jones covers both patented inventions (Silly Putty, Popsicles, Coca Cola) and generic ones (bricks, donut holes, cheese). She also throws in some place names whose monikers were coined accidentally. The loony watercolor sketches and all the extras here--fun facts, recipes, and anecdotes--are perfect for browsing. This book covers material similar to that in Wulffson's The Invention of Ordinary Things (Lothrop, 1981) and Steven Caney's Invention Book (Workman, 1985), but both are without the specific slant of ``mistaken discovery.'' The only detriment to this otherwise versatile book is the cartoon stereotypes of the Eskimo, Native American, and Chinese man. --Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library