THE STORY OF INVENTIONS by Catherine Barr

THE STORY OF INVENTIONS

by ; illustrated by & by
Age Range: 7 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The history of technology gets a quick once-over, highlighting 15 milestones.

Skipping blithely past the inventions of stone tools and agriculture, the authors begin with the wheel, (arbitrarily dated to 3,500 B.C.E.), close with nuclear weapons and the internet (“Today”), and in between tick off paper, gunpowder, vaccines, telephones, plastic bottles, and like more or less ubiquitous props for modern civilization. Each gets a spread, usually with a left-to-right progression of approximate time and place of invention followed by early uses, later refinements, and finally modern status. Husband’s informally drawn cartoon scenes offer views of early to late types of technology, a newly electrified city thickly strung with power lines, sea life unhappily wrestling with nets and plastic bags in a garbage-strewn ocean, and world maps festooned with people of diverse dress and color using phones and computers to communicate. The spare, big-picture narrative mentions no inventors by name (“While roads covered the land, only birds crossed the skies. Until one windy day in America when two brothers took off”), but the authors do sound repeated cautionary notes about the environmental effects of pollution, and like the crowd of peace protesters in the nuke entry’s foreground (which at least looks larger than the mushroom cloud in the background), human figures throughout are racially diverse, if not always individualized.

Broad but shallow, best considered as an appetizer for meatier surveys. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7112-4537-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020




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