THE KID WHO INVENTED THE TRAMPOLINE

MORE SURPRISING STORIES ABOUT INVENTIONS

As in The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle (1997), Wulffson briefly relates the development of 50 things we take for granted, from books to graham crackers to napkins to toilet paper. In a few paragraphs or a few pages, he engagingly describes the impetus behind the creation and popularity of these items. Fun tidbits are related in sidebars, and plenty of illustrations make the book look full of life on every page. Some of the captions and sidebars are curious—next to the history of book publishing, Wulffson points out that it took Margaret Mitchell 10 years to write Gone with the Wind—or misplaced—a sidebar about Kevlar appears before its definition in the text. But as this book is a browser, most readers will gloss over these parts. Some might be misled by the title; these are not all stories about kid inventors. In fact, the kid who thought up the trampoline didn’t come up with its design until he was an adult. It’s not even always about the actual invention: the entry for Animated Cartoons is mostly about Walt Disney. With no bibliography or documentation, this won’t get students very far on their invention reports, but it will surprise and entertain them, and keep them flipping its pages. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-46654-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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Moving and poetic.

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PAX

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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