The creative duo who invented Caldecott Medal winner So You Want to Be President? team up again for a lighthearted and illuminating look at history's greatest (and sometimes not-so-greatest) inventors.
As with the earlier book, Judith St. George provides brief snippets of familiar and obscure history alongside David Small's hilarious, inspiring illustrations. If "you want to be an inventor," St. George explains in a whimsical spread that features Ben Franklin using his most famous creations, "you don't have to have white hair and wrinkles." The future statesman came up with the idea of "swim paddles for his hands and kick paddles for his feet" at the age of 12 (with much more to come later). It also helps to "be a dreamer" like Alexander Graham Bell (he relied on a "dreaming place" as a boy), and it's good to "keep your eyes open" like Clarence Birdseye, who invented frozen food after watching "Eskimos freeze fish on the ice." These are only the tip of St. George's innovators' iceberg, but the message is clear: "being an inventor means pushing the limits," even though "there will always be barriers to be broken."
Equipped with all the bells and whistles St. George and Small fans could desire, So You Want to Be an Inventor? is winning fuel that will get brain motors revved up. St. George presents information in an informative and fun-to-read style, while Small's watercolor-and-ink paintings add appropriately wacky or serious angles to the historical perspective. Educators in particular will appreciate the biographical notes and bibliography, and parents will cherish the motivation for their kids. Young visionaries, get cracking! Matt Warner