Inventions

The Industrial Revolution for Kids: The People and Technology That Changed the World

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School (Ages 9 and Up)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction History
•    Author: Cheryl Mullenbach
•    Publisher: Chicago Review Press (For Kids Series)
•    Publication Date: August 1, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 11″ x  8.5″
•    Printing: Black & White
•    Length: 144 Pages
•    Retail: $16.95
•    ISBN: 978-1613746905

One of America’s Most Innovative Eras in History
Curliss-engineThe Industrial Revolution was an incredibly innovative and revolutionary time in our history that forever changed the way we live. Author Cheryl Mullenbach gets readers hooked on the subject from page one with human interest stories about every day people who lived and worked during the Industrial Revolution, starting with Lucy Larcom, an 11-year-old factory worker. There are accounts of the horrific conditions of the factories Americans worked in, the dismal pay and the social activists who protested their working conditions . She also weaves in important, intriguing historical facts about the revolution and highlights the famous Americans who were innovators, accumulating great wealth during this time in our nation’s history. The use of old photographs that are scattered throughout the book are impressive.


21 Activities
One of the many benefits of the Chicago Review Press for Kids Series titles is that they all  offer readers activities that are fun and educational. The activities in The Industrial Revolution for Kids are just as innovative as the stories in the book. Among the highlights, readers can Test Machine Travel, Crack a Code, Make an Assembly Line Sandwich, Model an Elevator, Tell a Story With Photographs and Design a Product for the World’s Fair.

What This Book Teaches
MandK_Industrial_Revolution_1900Readers will quickly understand why Child Labor Laws were put into place, because during the Industrial Revolution it was common for an entire family to work in a factory, quite often in filthy conditions, with unreasonably long hours and unfair pay. There’s even a side story about a boy who encountered dozens of rats while in a building. Learning about the innovations that occurred during the 100 years of The Industrial Revolution is mind boggling. The products and technologies that came to be during that time laid the groundwork for the countless products and  technologies we rely upon today – the cotton gin, the sewing machine, the plow, electricity, the building of skyscrapers, subways, airplanes, cars and much more. The Industrial Revolution for Kids inspires kids to think about innovation and even more importantly, the fair treatment of workers.


Why You Should Buy This Book
I found the offset boxes featuring events and people relating to America’s Industrial Revolution to be more fascinating perhaps than any Childlabourcoalother title in the series I’ve read. Details about the Industrial Revolution are not something we as Americans come across on a daily basis. I’d be fascinated to learn about the author’s research process and the sources she used to put this comprehensive book together. The Industrial Revolution for Kids is not only a great read, but it offers us a reality about the foundation of our nation’s workforce history and reminds us what had to take place yesterday in order to enjoy the modern conveniences that make our everyday lives so much easier today. The list of Resources in the back of the book will help readers find additional information on this comprehensive subject.

A Well-Rounded Education With This Outstanding Series from Chicago Review Press
If you were to purchase every title in The Chicago Review Press For Kids Series for your child to read, rest assured he or she would be more well-read and better educated than all of his or her peers. The subjects of these outstanding non-fiction tittles span every subject from science to history, from art to music, geography to literature. The fact-filled pages are fascinating to read, and the (often historical) images round out the learning experience. The authors of these titles never talk down to readers; nor do they sugarcoat the truth. The books are so well-written and informative, that the more of them you read, the more interesting and informed of a person you become.

Being a reviewer, I have had the opportunity to read numerous titles in this series, and have yet to find any that are not outstanding. I’ve taken a liking to subjects I never had an interest in before, such as war and physics. This series has broadened my knowledge of many subjects, and I only wish these titles were available when I was growing up.


About the Author
Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of history books for young adults and middle school age readers. She writes about the usual people, places, and events that parents and educators expect to see in the history books. In addition, she uncovers the unusual stories that inspire young people–and adults–to scratch beneath the surface of historical facts to discover the rich stories that make history real. She is the author of Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II as well as this title, The Industrial Revolution for Kids.


Space: The Whole Whizz-Bang Story

•    Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 7-9)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Science
•    Author: Glenn Murphy
•    Illustrator: Mike Phillips
•    Publisher: Pan MacMillan Children’s Books
•    Publication Date: (Reprint Edition) May, 1, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 5″ x  7.5″
•    Printing:  Black & White
•    Length: 188 Pages
•    Retail: $7.99
•    ISBN: 978-1447226239

Everything You Didn’t Even Know You Needed to Know About the Universe
Space: The Whole Whizz-Bang Story takes readers on a humorous journey through the universe, around the stars and planets. Questions are posed and answered with fascinating facts and witty banter. There are doodles and some old photographs to make reading all that much more entertaining.

Why did people think the sun went around the earth? Were they stupid or something?

Newton nailed it, and now we use his ideas because he’s never been topped?

If you used enough sunscreen could you sunbathe on Venus?

Readers learn about famous scientists and discoveries and basically take a trip around the solar system. There are a few quizzes and activities and by the end of the book, children know the basics of space and so much more.

Why You’ll Love This Book
Author Glenn Murphy writes as though he is having a conversation with the reader and turns what would normally be big daunting information about the universe, stars and the solar system and skillfully turns it into a light and funny read. He poses questions and answers them, adding comments that sound like they come from the reader, and he uses humor throughout his explanations. Teaching space to second through fourth graders is no easy task but Murphy keeps the reader’s attention from start to finish. For me, as an adult, reading Space was a refresher course plus I learned a bunch of facts I never knew before. Frankly I feel quite a bit smarter than I did yesterday.


Poo! What is That Smell? Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Five Senses

•    Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 7-9)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Science
•    Author: Glenn Murphy
•    Illustrator: Lorna Murphy
•    Publisher: Pan MacMillan Children’s Books
•    Publication Date: (Unabridged Edition) May, 1, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 5″ x  7.5″
•    Printing:  Black & White
•    Length: 176 Pages
•    Retail: $8.99
•    ISBN: 978-0330538527

Now That Really Stinks
What kid can resist a book entitled Poo! What is That Smell? I’m not embarrassed to admit after seeing that title I couldn’t wait to read this book myself (and find out why my dog’s farts are so deadly). In addition to be enlightened about how and why we smell, readers learn all about the other senses.

How do we see?

What’s hearing and why do we have it?

How do we taste things?

How do we touch and feel things?

Each of the five chapters of the books is dedicated to one of the five senses of humans and other animals, and there’s surprising detail here. We learn how sharks smell blood under water, whether or not flies have eyeballs and the really big questions – do pigs eat their own poo? (Aren’t you dying to know the answer to that?) In the back of the book is information about Big Sense – the animals with the most, biggest longest, etc and a word or two about animals with special senses above and beyond the basic five.

Why You’ll Love This Book
The amount of information young readers learn within the pages of Poo! What is That Smell? is quite impressive. This is not just an explanation of the five senses, but rather an in-depth, humorous look at all the ways animals thrive and survive using their senses. Questions even the most curious readers may not think to pose themselves are asked and answered, and the information is so fascinating, kids will not only look forward to reading the entire book, but will likely want to explore the subject of the five senses further. After learning that snakes don’t have ears but can hear, who wouldn’t want to know how that is possible?

About the Author
Glenn Murphy received his masters in science communication from London’s Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He wrote his first popular science book, Why Is Snot Green?, while managing the Explainer team at the Science Museum in London. In 2007 he moved to the United States. He now lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Heather, and two unusually large and ill-tempered cats.


Eureka! The Most Amazing Discoveries of All Time

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle & High School (Ages 9 & up)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Science
•    Author: Dr. Mike Goldsmith
•    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
•    Publication Date: May 20, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 7.75″ x 10.25″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 96 Pages
•    Retail: $18.95
•    ISBN: 978-0500650257

A Well-Organized and Laid-Out Book
Eureka  is the most well-organized science book for kids I can ever remember reading. The Table of Contents is clear and easy to read. The book starts out with a chronological list of dates of discoveries and the scientists who are responsible for them. There are five main sections: 1) Medicine; 2) The Human Body; 3) Matter & Energy; 4) Planet Earth and 5) The Universe. Each chapter within those sections offers a big bold heading and a “Who, Where, When and Method” of discovery. There are wonderful old photos and drawings to accompany the fascinating facts about every scientist and his or her discoveries, plus timelines for each scientist.

According to Copernicus, the Sun was at the center of the solar system and the planets, such as Earth, traveled around it. Only the Moon went around the Earth.


Prepare to Be Amazed!
Revolutionary scientific discoveries are presented to readers in such a fascinating way, it was impossible for me to put this book down. We learn how scientists were led to their discoveries and the many challenges (and mistakes) they faced along the way. Questions are posed and answered and we get glimpses into the greatest minds in the history of science.

Gertrude Elion from NY was rejected from 15 graduate schools, because she was a woman, but that didn’t stop her from developing numerous drugs that saved lives. One of these medicines was an anti-rejection drug for organ transplants (1950s).  Naturalist Carl Linnaeus was the first to create scientific names to make it easier for scientists to categorize information.

This is the goldsmith beetle, an insect discovered by Linnaeus. He gave it the scientific name Cetonia aurata. Cetonia is the genus, or group, of beetles that it belongs to. The word aurata means ‘golden’ and describes the species.

Darwin’s Discoveries
On Charles Darwin’s voyage around the Galapogos Islands, he realized that finches on different islands had different beaks. He suspected these changes occurred for animals to adapt to different food sources on different islands. Following his travels he studied and documented the history of finches and proved his theory of evolution.

Here are four of Darwin’s finches – the large ground finch, the medium ground finch, the small tree finch and the green warbler finch. Each has a differently shaped beak, which has evolved to take advantage of the food nearby.

What This Book Teaches (Or Why You Should Run Out and Buy It)
With its easy-to-read format and fabulous images and illustrations, kids are introduced to the glorious history of scientific discovery. The book is so well-written and inspiring, that it should easily keep the attention of students who never even knew they may be interested in science.

What I love most about Eureka is that it teaches us how new discoveries are really the result of taking previous findings and developing them further. Author Mike Goldsmith demonstrates how science solves problems, and that there is always room for more discoveries. He takes a subject that can seem daunting to kids and makes it attainable, opening the door to the possibilities that perhaps one day they too may solve problems using science that change the world. Readers also learn that failure is an inevitable part of the process on the road to success. The key is in dedication and persistence.

Richard Owen recognized that the fragment of bone he’d been sent must have come from a large bird. He was later sent collections of bird bones and managed to reconstruct the whole skeleton of the extinct Moa bird!

About the Author
Dr. Mike Goldsmith is a research scientist and science writer. He has written over fifty science books for children and has twice been shortlisted for the Junior Aventis Science Prize.


100 Inventions That Made History: Brilliant Breakthroughs That Shaped Our World

•   Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elem, Middle (Ages 7-12)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction  Picture Book
•    Publisher: DK Publishing
•    Publication Date: January 6, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 8.5″ x .11″
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 128 Pages
•    Retail: $16.95
•    ISBN: 978-1465416704

“The average person spends three years on the toilet!”

Every Day Stuff That Makes life Easier

100 Inventions guides us through a visual and textual wonderland of some of the most important inventions of all time. If it were not for these brilliant breakthroughs, our every day lives would be so much more challenging, plus let’s not forget that we wouldn’t live as long either without some of these lifesavers. Imagine your life without wheels, airplanes, cars, telephones, televisions, paper, the internet, light bulbs, blue jeans, musical instruments, anesthesia and antibiotics. No thank you!

“It took hundreds of years for the secrets of papermaking to spread to other parts of Asia and North Africa and more than 1000 years to reach Europe.”

Fabulous Photographs and Fantastic Facts
Every two-page spread is dedicated to a different invention or group of inventions and includes big bold photographs and illustrations, paired with easy-to-read texts teeming with fascinating facts. We learned about who the inventor is, how and when that person came up with the idea, how the invention works, what it is used for an how it changed the world, including inventions that followed based upon the original. For example, Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen invented x-rays somewhat by accident in 1895. While experimenting with light tubes he discovered that waves of energy pass through flesh and skin but not through metal or bones. Page after page of inventions like these and all the wonders that surround them are uncovered in 100 Inventions That Made History.

Past Blunders and Future Wonders
In the back of 100 Inventions is a two-page spread entitled “Total Turkeys” listing some of the most interesting inventions that never made it off the ground.  Belgian’s Vincent De Groof invented a winged parachute in 1847, but the wings fell apart in mid flight and the inventor, along with his invention, parished. More recently in 2007, an Austrian named, Philipp Zumtobel invented Phone Fingers, a form of a rubber tip that slides on the pointer finger, to keep smart phones from getting smudged. The problem was that it took consumers a long time to get them on and off.

On the two-page spread entitled ” Fantastic Future” there’s a list of possible future inventions we might expect to see one day, like silent airplanes, air-conditioned clothing (hooray for that!) and even brain implants to make our intellectual powers soar.  Following these pages you’ll find a useful two-page glossary with some very interesting words.

Why This Book is a Must Read for Kids

100 Inventions offers the perfect combination of visual appeal and food for the brain. All readers can relate to these inventions as they learn how they paved the way for more modern versions of the original. Learning that products children use on a daily basis have evolved over time is so important and that many new products are essentially updated technologies from those products created before them. It’s also terrific that readers discover how long it often took inventors to get their inventions just right and how many failures they all had before their successes.

As with all DK science books, it takes a huge team of experts and a lot of sources to put them together. Kids can see that for themselves in the editorial section at the front of the book and in the tremendous list of acknowledgements in the back of the book. The bottom line is that 100 Inventions is fascinating, fun and informative, and it will motivate young minds to start thinking of ways they too can make the world a better, more efficient place, while giving them the realities of just how much work it takes to make history.

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