IMAGINATIVE INVENTIONS by Charise Mericle Harper

IMAGINATIVE INVENTIONS

Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This introduction to inventions delivered in cartoony spreads with clomping verse falls on its face. Harper’s text is so bogged down in rhyme and meter that it crosses into inaccuracy. In telling how Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt sent back his french fries to Chef George Crum, Harper says “One day there was a customer. / Let’s say his name was Rick. / He ordered some of George’s fries / then said, “These are too thick!” (So Crum sliced them paper-thin and invented the potato chip). Harper’s choice to rename Vanderbilt “Rick” is perplexing (rhymes with thick?), and hardly forgivable for the small print on the verso that states “though all the facts have been verified to the best of the author’s ability, it should be noted that creative storytelling and imagination were also used to tell these tales.” Most kids will recognize the verses as awkwardly patched together (“Some inventions solve a problem, / like glasses to help you see, / Then there are others just for fun, / like skates or the Frisbee.”) Too bad, as the goofy paintings will appeal to the age group that is also fascinated by inventions of things like potato chips and chewing gum. Trivial “facts” noted in the margins will also appeal (e.g., under doughnuts, that “the most popular doughnut with kids is the chocolate frosted”), though nothing in the text does much to really explain how the item was invented. An acknowledged list of sources in a single paragraph is also located on the verso, in minute type. This seems designed to inspire rather than explain. Sadly, it does neither. (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-316-34725-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2001




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